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Nummits and Crummits. 

Nummits and Crummits 

Devonshire Customs, 
Characteristics, and Folk-lore 


Sarah Hewett 

Author of " The Peasant Speech of Devon ; " " Devonshire Stories ; " 
" Fairies ; " " Superstitions." 

With Frontispiece by George Martin. 

London : 

Thomas Burleigh 




by kind permission 

to the Right Honourable 

Lord Halsbury. 


THIS little book is made up of a few crumbs from the 
repositories of many Devonshire friends, to whom 
grateful thanks are tendered for their untiring help- 
fulness in supplying so much that is quaint and in- 

The miscellaneous scraps here gathered shew but 
inadequately the humorous characteristics of our 
Devonshire folk, their dialect, and as some like to call 
it, "jargon," as drawn by themselves. They illustrate 
what the people actually believe in, say, and do, and 
shew the general trend of their minds. Their belief 
in the supernatural is unbounded. Neither age, 
social position, nor culture makes much difference : 
one and all are more or less wedded to the super- 
stitions, beliefs, and traditions of their ancestors. 

Apologies are offered to any one whose " Crummits " 
have been appropriated without permission or ac- 


It was impossible to say from whom they arrived, 
as hundreds of newspaper and other cuttings came to 
hand anonymously, and being very precious morsels 
were reproduced. To each and all contributors most 
grateful thanks are given. 



July, 1899. 




PREFACE . . . . . . v 

I. SUPERSTITIONS . . . . ' i 


III. CHARMS . . . . . . 61 

IV. CUSTOMS . . . .. . .' 85 




VIII. STORIES .... , 165 

IX. OLD SONGS . ^ . ' . . , . 185 



I tell thee, 

There's not a pulse beats in the human frame 
That is not governed by the stars above us. 
The blood that fills our veins, in all its ebb 
And flow, is swayed by them as certainly 
As are the restless tides of the salt sea 
By the resplendent moon ; and at thy birth 
Thy mother's eye gazed not more steadfastly 
On thee, than did the star that rules thy fate, 
Showering upon thy head an influence 
Malignant or benign. 



I THINK I cannot do better than describe what actually 
took place at an old farm house, in the eighties, in 
South Devon. 

1 was invited to spend a few days with a family, 
consisting of a farmer, his wife, and seven grown-up 
sons and daughters. The farm was picturesquely 
situated on a south-western slope of the Haldon Hills, 
from whence extensive views of land and sea could 
be enjoyed. 

Mary was the youngest and merriest of the family. 
She it was who acted as prime mover in all the fun, 
not that either of the others showed any reluctance to 
carry out her wildest suggestions. A brighter set of 
young folk it would be difficult to find, and it has sel- 
dom been my good fortune to meet their equals in 
high spirits and natural gentleness. Every one was 
thoroughly imbued with credulity in regard to omens 
and predictions. 

4 jummit# anti Crummto. 

Mary suggested that All Hallowe'en should be ob- 
served with due ceremony, as indeed it was. The 
amusements began with fortune-telling by cards, at 
which Maggie the eldest daughter was an adept. 
The fortunes were appraised as "not up to much," 
and as no one crossed Maggie's hand with a piece of 
silver, the cards were swept aside. 

Then Jack, otherwise the family clown, brought in 
dishes of apples and nuts, bags of hemp seed, torn 
paper, large basins of water, scraps of lead, a melting 
ladle, large combs, small hand mirrors, and a printed 
sheet of capital letters, all of which were to be used 
as love-charms. 

Just as the clock began to strike eleven, a move 
was made towards the fireplace, where from the bars 
of the grate Jack had already swept every vestige of 

Simultaneously each girl laid a big hazel nut on 
the lowest bar of the grate, and sat silently watching 
the result. I noticed that perfect silence was religi- 
ously observed during each ceremony. 

She, whose nut first blazed, would be the first to 

She, whose nut first cracked, would be jilted. 

She, whose nut first jumped, would very soon start 
on a journey, but would never marry. 

She, whose nut smouldered, would have sickness, 
disappointment in love, and perhaps die young. 

After this, one of the girls took an apple, a comb, 


and a mirror, and retired to the brightest corner of 
the room, where she began to comb out her long 
tresses with her left hand and held an apple in the 
right, which she slowly ate. Her future husband 
was expected to look over her shoulder, revealing his 
face to her in the mirror. He did not, however, 
satisfy our curiosity by putting in an appearance. 

Then one took a handful of torn paper and scattered 
it on the surface of a big basin of water, and after 
stirring vigorously, awaited developments. The 
number of pieces of paper which fell to the bottom 
indicated the number of years which would intervene 
before the operator's marriage. In this case twenty- 
one fell, and as Jenny was now twenty-eight, Jack 
thought there was small chance for her to have an 
establishment of her own at forty-nine, so she had 
better resign herself to her fate, and be content to be- 
come the unappropriated blessing of the family, for, 
said he, " How could you, Jenny, at that advanced 
age, dare to don white satin and orange blossoms ? 
No, my dear, your future is sealed." 

Then everybody insisted on Jack trying his luck, 
which he essayed to do by melting a few scraps of 
lead in the ladle and pouring it red hot into one of the 
basins of cold water. The letters formed, or the 
nearest approach to letters, at the bottom of the basin 
were supposed to be the initials of the future " She." 
The closest resemblance to letters which we could 
discover was an I, and an L. The question which 

6 jummit0 anfc Crummta. 

now arose amid merry peals of laughter was to whom 
the initials I.L. could belong. Many names were 
mentioned and negatived as soon as suggested, Jack 
looking rather bashful, when from Jenny came the 
query " Does not I stand for Ida, and L for Lang ? 
Ida Lang is a very pretty name, and is owned by a 
very sweet girl." 

Jack gave Jenny a look which could easily be in- 
terpreted " I owe you one for that, Jenny " " Oh ! oh ! 
Jack," replied Jenny, " we are hoping that Ida Lang 
will not be an unappropriated blessing. She shall 
have my white satin and all the orange blossoms." 
There was a good deal more of this sort of chaff, but 
no offence was taken by the good-natured Jack, and 
things swung along amicably. 

Next came Tom to try his hap with a pair of 
scissors. Tom in silence separated the capital letters, 
each falling into the basin of water without being 
touched by the hand. When all were free they were 
stirred and left to settle. The initials of the future 
one, were supposed to float on the water. Alas ! poor 
Tom ! in his case fifteen letters presented themselves. 
Here again was food for fun and conjecture. Many 
suggestions were made. Tom, perhaps was going to 
be a Mormon, or perhaps he was going abroad and 
set up a harem, and all sorts of other absurd theories. 
Mary at last came to the rescue, " Oh, I know," said 
she, " take G and M out and there you have 
Gertrude Morley, then tack all the rest on to the end 

of the name, and there you have certain degrees won 
by Gertrude at the 'Varsity. Gertrude is a Newnham 
student. Last autumn in the long vacation there was 
a young woman of that strain dodging across the 
hills, and on one occasion when she saw our Tom 
cantering towards her, her bike became fractious 
instanter, and poor innocent Tom had to dismount, 
tie Highflyer to a gate-post and assist the distressed 
biker. Of course, Tom couldn't help himself and 
had to lead Highflyer up the hill and push the bike 
too." Alas poor Tom ! Then turning to her mother 
she explained that Tom was about to present her with 
a new daughter in the form of a Newnham girl so 
vastly clever, that she used up all the alphabet 
to shew how clever she was and the heaps of degrees 
she took, &c., &c. " I say, Tom, do you think 
Gertrude Morley, B.A., M.D., M.G.L.Q.R., will 
like taking my place in the house work, and be able 
to cry chuggie, chuggie, chuggie, every morning to 
the dear little piggy-wiggies ; perhaps though, instead 
of giving them barley-meal and milk, she'll sit them 
all in a row, in the bottom of the trough, and teach 
'em Latin and Greek don't-cher-know ; eh, Tom 
dear ? " 

Heedless of this affectionate raillery, everything 
drifted along smoothly, and four dishes of water were 
brought in and placed severally in three corners of 
the room, and the fourth, emptied of its contents, was 
placed in the fourth corner. Then four blind-folded 

8 jpummtttf anfc Crummto, 

operators were led into the room and placed back to 
back in its centre, the lights having been previously 
extinguished. Then all four fell on their knees and 
each crept at discretion to any, or all to the same, 

The empty dish portended celibacy or poverty. 
The dish of clean water, that the future one would 
never before have married. The dish of dirty water, 
that the future spouse would be a widow or widower. 
The dish of water with pebbles at the bottom, riches 
and honour. 

Now the crucial movement was at hand. Each 
girl took possession of a big handful of hempseed. 
The front door was thrown wide open and securely 
fastened back to prevent the possibility of its being 
accidentally closed ; the girls stood without. As the 
clock gave the first stroke of twelve off they started 
each in a different direction across the lawn, shouting : 

Hempseed I sow, 
Hempseed I throw, 
He that's my true-love, 
Come after me and mow ! 

The spirits of the future ones were expected to be 
beyond the shrubs ready to rush after the sowers, and 
unhappy would have been the maiden, who could 
not get over the threshold before the scythe of the 
reaper caught her. All the girls reached the hall un- 
harmed : little Mary, looking a bit scared, said, as she 

wound her arms around me : " Oh, wasn't I just 
about startled ? indeed, I was, for I thought I saw 
Dick Harvey right in front of me as I turned to come 
back, holding a bright new sickle over his head." I 
felt the child tremble, and then I enquired, " Who is 
Dick Harvey ? " " Oh, nobody in particular, don't 
tell." Of course I have not told till now. 

After supper we retired for the night. The next 
morning the girls told me, that sometimes they placed 
tiny scraps of bridecake, wrapped in tissue paper, 
under their pillows at night, hoping they would 
dream of " him : " at other times made a " dumb 
cake," and gave me a recipe for making one, which I 

Jenny told me too, that one evening when visiting 
friends at Paignton, one of the party saw for the first 
time the new moon : she called all the young folk out 
on the balcony requesting each to bring a small hand- 
mirror, to turn their back to the moon, and holding 
up the mirrors to catch the reflection of the moon. 
As many reflections as were cast on the glass, so 
many years would pass before the marriage of the 
holder took place. One charming girl of the party 
told me : "I had three moons. Fancy that, my 
dear, and you know how very old I am now, and 
have three years of weary waiting yet." 

That delightful family is broken up. The parents 
are both dead, and the children are scattered to the 
ends of the earth. Not one is left in England. Each 

io ^ummit# auto Ctummit& 

member has carried the old songs, the old dialect, 
and the old folk-lore of the old country, into new 
homes, in new countries, and there in time a new 
generation will spring up, who will be taught the 
traditions of the past ; and perhaps the incidents of 
that happy All Hallowe'en, spent amidst the uplands 
of dear old Devon, will form one of the pleasantest 

Poor Dick Harvey never came to claim little Mary, 
for, very soon after that happy evening, news came of 
a great storm, and Dick, who was first officer of the 
ss. Petrel, was lost with all hands in mid Atlantic. 

Everywhere throughout the length and breadth of 
Great Britain, the festive and fortune-telling practices 
of this evening are observed in almost identical fash- 
ion. Gray, in The Spell, tells us that 

Two hazel-nuts I threw into the fire, 
And to each nut I gave a sweetheart's name. 
This, with the loudest bounce, me sore amazed, 
That, in a flame of brightest colour blazed : 
As blazed the nut so may thy passion grow, 
For 'twas thy nut that did so brightly glow." 

Then we have in Niit burning on All Halloweve, 
by Charles Graydon, the following 

These glowing nuts are emblems true, 
Of what in human life we view ; 
The ill-matched couple fret and fume, 
And thus in strife themselves consume ; 

feupergtitiong. 1 1 

Or from each other wildly start, 

And with a noise for ever part. 

But see the happy, happy pair, 

Of genuine love and truth sincere 

With mutual fondness while they burn, 

Still to each other kindly turn ; 

And as the vital sparks decay, 

Together gently sink away : 

Till life's fierce ordeal being past, 

Their mingled ashes rest at last. 

Burns, too, contributes a long poem on " Hal- 
loween," which gives us an insight into the manners 
and traditions of the peasantry in the West of Scot- 
land in his time. 

The old goodwife's well hoarded nuts 
Are round and round divided : 
And many lads' and lasses' fates 
Are there that night decided : 
Some kindle, couthie, side by side 
And burn together trimly ; 
Some start away with saucy pride 
And jump out o'er the chimney 

Full high that night. 

IN the preparation of a dumb cake, if perfection be 
desired, it is imperative to observe strict: silence, and 
to follow these instructions closely. 

12 ummto anli Crummte. 

Let any number of unmarried ladies each take a 
handful of wheaten flour, and place it on a sheet of 
white paper, then sprinkle it with as much salt as can 
be held between the finger and thumb ; then, one 
must put as much clear spring- water as will make it 
into dough, which being done, each of the party must 
roll it up, and spread it thin and broad, and each 
maid must, at some distance apart, make the first 
letters of their Christian and surname with a large 
new pin, towards the end of the cake ; if more 
christian-names than one, the first letter of each one 
must be made. Then set the cake before the fire, and 
each girl must sit down in a chair, as far from the 
fire as the room will admit, not speaking a word all 
the time. This must be done between eleven and 
twelve o'clock at night. Each person in rotation 
must turn the cake once, and five minutes after mid- 
night the husband of her who is to be wed first will 
appear and lay his hand upon that part of the cake 
bearing her initials. From the Norwood Gipsy 

If the cake be eaten, strict silence must be observed 
from the moment a slice is cut. The person walks 
backwards from the room, up the stairs, and after 
undressing goes into bed, still backwards. Stumbling 
and giggling are inadmissible. It is presumed that 
happy dreams of " the loved one" will occupy the 
hours of slumber. 



ADDISON says, " We suffer as much from trifling 
accidents as from real evils. I have known the shoot- 
ing of a star spoil a night's rest, and have seen a man 
in love grow pale and lose his appetite upon the 
plucking of a merrythought. A screech-owl at mid- 
night has alarmed a family more than a band of rob- 
bers ; nay, the voice of a cricket has struck more 
terror than the roaring of a lion. There is nothing so 
inconsiderable which may not appear dreadful to an 
imagination that is filled with omens and prognostica- 
tions. A rusty nail or a crooked pin shoot up into 

Belief in omens is not confined to the simple and 
uneducated, but permeate every social grade. 

Omens are said to be " the poetry of history." 
Mary de Medici saw, in a dream, the brilliants of her 
crown change into pearls symbols of tears and 
mourning. The Stuart monarchs held that their sor- 
rows and misfortunes were foretokened. The learned 
Earl of Roscommon and Dr. Johnson were believers 
in spectres and supernatural agencies. 

The mountaineer makes the natural phenomena 
which daily present themselves to him foretokens of 
weal or woe. Dwellers in low-lying countries, too, 
find signs in their surroundings to distress and disturb 
their peace of mind. Each is continually inviting 
bugbears to harass and worry him. 

14 j^ummto anti Crummit#. 

There is a strong belief that the robin, raven, mag- 
pie, owl, and a nameless white bird, by the manner of 
their flight, and other peculiarities of action, foretell 
the approaching dissolution of some member of the 
household which they visit. A robin sitting near a 
window, uttering a plaintive weep, weep, weep, 
presages sickness and death ; if he flies into an occu- 
pied bedroom, then, death is near at hand. 

A remarkable instance of credulity in robin-lore 
came to my notice in 1891. The following was told 
me by an educated lady, whose temperament is in 
no way morbid or hysterical ; but is in herself bright, 
cheerful, and religious. The sight of a robin carries 
her memory back to some of the saddest days of her 
life. Here is her story : 

" In 1848 I was staying with my grandparents at 
Ashburton, in Devonshire. My grandmother, having 
a severe cold, went early to bed, and the weather 
being oppressively hot, the window was left open. 
Presently a robin, dishevelled and melancholy, flew 
into the room and perched on the towel-rail. No 
amount of persuasion could dislodge him, and at last 
all efforts to eject him were abandoned. He continued 
his sad weep, weep, weep, for at least an hour, 
when he quietly flew out of the window. That night 
grannie died. Again, in 1851, a robin, just as un- 
happy and forlorn as the former one, flew into my 
father's bedroom, exhibiting every sign of dejection. 
Nor would he be easily driven off, but sought the 

fewpergtitiong. 15 

tester of the bed, where he continued his weep, 
weep, weep. That night my father died. 

" Again, in the autumn of 1884, while on a visit to 
Dawlish with my husband and children, we often took 
our books and work into the garden. One evening, 
as usual, we were in the summer-house, the children 
playing noisily, when a robin flew into their midst, 
and hopped on the table, finally perching himself on 
the handle of my work-basket. A more pitiable de- 
jected little birdie could not be imagined, his feathers 
were ruffled and touselled, and both wings drooped to 
his feet. There he sat, uttering his dolorous weep, 
weep, weep, for several minutes ; when we rose to 
go into the house he followed, sometimes fluttering 
along before us in the path, at others flitting from 
bush to bush close at our side. Even after we had 
closed the window we heard him on the shrubs out- 
side, still pathetically uttering his doleful weep, 
weep, weep. The next morning my dear husband, 
who had gone along the Strand for a stroll while I 
dressed the children for a walk, dropped suddenly 
dead, and was brought home within a quarter of an 
hour after leaving the house. Can you wonder at my 
having a dread of a visit from a robin, after these 
pitiful experiences ? " 

THERE exists in the family of the Oxenhams a tra- 
dition that a bird with a white breast is always seen 

1 6 jummtt# anD Crummto. 

fluttering over their beds, previous to the death of a 
member of their family. 

The Oxenhams were an ancient family of consider- 
able influence and importance, occupying and possess- 
ing large and valuable properties in the vicinity of 
Okehampton. But the glory of the house has de- 
parted, though there are still branches of it at the 
present time residing at South Tawton, who still re- 
tain the tradition of the white bird. Very recently 
(1892) an Oxenham has said that the bird appeared 
to him, and very shortly afterwards his father died. 
It therefore appears that this bird of ill-omen is a 
legacy in perpetuity, bequeathed at an ill-starred 
moment to his descendants by some unfortunate an- 
cestor. There are numerous records of the appear- 
ance of this bird prior to 1700, but the most interest- 
ing is that which describes its visit to Sir James 
Oxenham, on the eve of his daughter Margaret's 

The full text of a poem giving details of the appear- 
ance of the apparition, is given in " The Report and 
Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the 
Advancement of Science, Literature, and Art," for 
1896, which was sent by Miss E. Gibbs, of South 
Tawton, who copied it from the housekeeper's com- 
monplace book at Oxenham House. 

For those who may be unable to procure the whole 
of the poem, I select one or two stanzas which may 
be interesting. 


Where lofty hills in grandeur meet, 

And Taw meandering flows, 
There is a calm and sweet retreat 

Where once a mansion rose. 

There dwelt Sir James of Oxenham, 

A brave and liberal lord : 
Benighted travellers never came 

Unwelcome to his board. 

Here it goes on to say that Margaret was sole 
heiress to his property ; she was wooed by one 
Bertram, who from a blow on the head became an 
imbecile. Margaret's grief was great, but " con- 
soling time healed the heart with anguish grieved," 
and " soft vermilion of her cheek again begins to 

Then John the Knight of Roxamcave 

Sought her fair hand to gain : 
And he was handsome, young, and brave 

How could he plead in vain ? 

He fondly pressed his Margaret 

To fix their nuptial day, 
And on its joyful eve they met 

With friends and kinsfolk gay. 

1 8 ^ummto ann Crummto. 

How happy was Sir James that night, 

Unburdened of his care. 
For he believed, with fond delight, 

That heaven had heard his prayer. 

Then up he rose, with joy elate, 

To speak unto Sir John, 
And rapt desire, outspeeding fate, 

In thought he called him son. 

But while the dear unpractised word 
Was forming on his tongue, 

He saw a silvery-breasted bird 
Fly o'er the festive throng. 

Now John, and Margaret, and her sire, 

With many a dame and knight, 
Ranged round the altar, heard the friar 

Begin the holy rite. 

When Margaret, with terrific screams, 

Made all with horror start. 
Oh, heavens ! her blood in torrents streamed, 

A dagger's in her heart. 

Behind stood Bertram, who then drew 

Away the reeking blade ; 
And frantically laughed to view 

The life-blood of his maid. 

feupergtttiong. 19 

" Now marry me, proud maid ! " he cried, 
" Thy blood with mine shall wed." 

Then dashed the dagger in his side, 
And on the ground fell dead. 

Poor Margaret, too, grows cold with death, 

And round her, hovering, flies 
The phantom bird for her last breath, 

To bear it to the skies. 


THE countess Isabella is accredited with having 
planted the oaks of Wistman's Wood on Dartmoor. 
She, too, it was, who met a man on Bickleigh Hill, 
near Tiverton, carrying a basket containing seven of 
his baby children, to whom he intended to give " a 
swim in the river Exe at Bickleigh Bridge." On 
being asked by her what he was carrying, he replied, 
" Puppies not worth rearing." Presently he con- 
fessed that his wife had given him seven sons at a 
birth, and fearing the lack of food and raiment, he 
had determined to drown them. The countess adopted 
them, and provided for their upbringing out of the 
proceeds of her estates at Tiverton and Chumleigh. 


ONE often hears issuing from the rafters and wood- 
work of old houses sounds resembling the ticking of 

20 jpummte anu Crummta. 

a. watch. These clickings are produced by a small 
insect known as the " Death-Watch. " 

By nervous persons they are considered omens 
of death. 

Mrs. Hagland, a laundress, living at Tiverton, 
came to me one morning in great distress of mind, 
and her simple story will give a better insight into 
the feelings of the superstitious than any thing I can 
say. I give verbatim her account of a very unhappy 

" I be zure zom'thing is gwaine tli 'appen tii me, or 
mine, for all last night I kep' on hearing of the 
Death- Watch, aticking, ticking, ticking, ess, he kep' 
on ticking till he drawved me most mazed. He made 
me think of my poar bwoy Bill whot's out to zay, 'e 
tha' bin gone now for tii or dree yer ; I dii zim 'tez a 
brave while ago I zeed 'n, but there God Almighty 
'th tiiked kear aw'n zo var and I 'opes as how He 
will 'et. I a'n't ahad ide-nor-tide aw'n zince he went 
away and I dii zim tez a longful time agone that 
I zeed'n. Well, as I wuz azaying of, I yeard that 
Death-Watch aclicking all drii the night and dii 
trubble me dreffel bad. Gi'th me the heart ache and 
1 can't get no rest for thinkind aw'n ; 'tez all day and 
ivvry day and all night tii. A mawther's heart is a 
sorrowful thing tii car about, when her only cheel is zo 
var away, and out tii zay tii. I've a yerd the Death- 
Watch avore, and then my mawther died perty quick 
afterwards, but he diddent tickee zo 'ard and zo 


dismal-like as he did last night. It zimmed to me, as 
how he zed, * tick ! tick ! tick ! tick ! wake up, 
Mawther ! I be drownded ! I be drownded ! ' Ah ! 
Lord-a-massy ! if he be a drownded 'twill break my 
heart. What diiee think mum ? " 

Poor soul, she went away, crying bitterly. Bill 
never came back, and now she has gone to her rest, 
where there will be no more wakeful nights, or dread 
born of the love-calls of a common insect. 

Swift ridiculed the foolish fancy of predicting death 
in this way, but ridicule, be it never so strong, does 
not kill belief in the supernatural. 

A wood -worm 

That lies in old wood, like a hare in her form, 
With teeth or with claws it will bite, or will scratch ; 
And chambermaids christen this worm a death-watch 
Because like a watch it always cries click ; 
Then woe be to those in the house that be sick, 
For, sure as a gun, they will give up the ghost. 
If the maggot cries click when it scratches the post 
But a kettle of scalding hot water ejected, 
Infallibly cures the timber affected. 
The omen is broken, the danger is over ; 
The maggot will die, the sick will recover. 


IF a corpse retains heat and flexibility it is said 
that others of the same family will die before the 
year is out. 

22 jummite anli Crummto. 

If a sheet or tablecloth is returned from the laun- 
dry with a square fold in the centre, so, 
it is said to portend the death of the <^ 
master or mistress of the house. 

If letters cross in the post it is a sign of death. 


THERE are many superstitious customs attached to 
the marriage ceremony, some of which are supposed 
to endow the pair with blessings and an abundant 
share of the good things of life, while others bring 
only misfortune and disquietude. 

Witches and pixies alas, are workers of evil, and 
beset the path of the bride and bridegroom to and 
from the church, plying their wicked tricks to the 
detriment of the unhappy pair. The days of the 
week, too, on which the ceremony is performed, in- 
fluence their future, as the following lines testify : 

Monday for wealth, 
Tuesday for health, 
Wednesday is the best day of all, 
Thursday for crosses, 
Friday for losses, 
Saturday no luck at all. 

Sunday is an exceptionally fortunate day upon 
which to enter the holy state. 


One often hears : 
" Happy is the bride that the sun shines upon." 

Among the customs bringing good luck to the pair, 
are pelting them with rice as they leave the church 
after the ceremony, and throwing old slippers at them, 
too, as they leave the house for the honeymoon. 

Happiness can be insured by observing certain 
practices which have been in vogue for many centuries, 
as for example : it is necessary to carry sprigs of rue 
and rosemary and a few cloves of garlic in the pocket, 
to enhance the felicity of the pair. The bride also 
should carry a small packet of bread and cheese in 
her pocket to give to the first woman or girl she 
meets after leaving the church. 

Dire calamities will overtake the couple if either of 
these cherished practices are omitted, though the 
perfume of garlic and rue added to the wedding 
bouquets seems incongruous. 

Now follow the unfortunate omens and events 
attached to this momentous occasion. Should a 
raven hover over their path, a cat, dog, or hare pass 
between them, or should they encounter a toad, frog, 
or other reptile, then terrible misfortunes will follow 
them for all time. These creatures are supposed to 
be the embodiment of pixies, witches, and every 
species of evil spirit. Even his satanic majesty does 
not object to assume the form of an animal, to enable 
him to work certain ill on their future lives, and to 
assist in contributing his share to their distress. 

24 j]2ummit# ana Crummiw. 

In Devon, when a. wife is of stronger will than her 
husband, the people say, " Aw ess, the grey mare in 
thickee 'ouze is the better 'oss," and ascribe her master- 
fulness to her having visited and drank of the water 
of the well of St. Keyne, in Cornwall. 

A PERSON wishing to know whether success or 
failure is to attend his future, should open the Bible 
at the forty-ninth chapter of Genesis, begin with the 
third verse and end with the twenty-seventh : the 
verse he first chooses will be typical of his future 
fate, character, and success in life. 

Another method practised by country folk on 
almost every occasion, is to open the Bible at ran- 
dom, and the words which first present themselves 
decides the future lot of the enquirer. 

In Devonshire, many persons when they have lost 
anything, and suspect it to have been stolen, take the 
front door key of their dwelling, and, in order to find 
out the thief, tie this key to the Bible, placing it very 
carefully on the eighteenth verse of the fiftieth Psalm. 
(" When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst 
with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.") 
Two persons must then hold the book by the bow of 
the key, and first repeat the name of the suspected 
thief, and then the verse from the Psalm. If the 
Bible moves, the suspected person is considered 
guilty ; if it does not move, innocent. 



AN even leaved ash and a four leaved clover 
Are certain to bring to me my true love 
Before the day is over. 

An even leaved ash and a four leaved clover are 
beneficent attradlors of the opposite sex, for if one 
finds an even leaved ash and holds it flat between 
both hands, and repeats softly, 

" With this even leaved ash between my hands 
The first I meet will be my dear man." 

then placing it in the palm of the gloved right hand, 


" This placed in my glove 
Will bring my own true love." 

then remove it to the bosom and whisper, 

" This even leaved ash in my bosom 
Will give me, in the first man I meet 
My true husband." 


SALT, in country districts, is held as a sacred article, 
and the vessel used to contain it is considered hal- 
lowed and looked upon as a valuable possession. 
Dire calamities follow on spilling salt, and a charm is 
used to counteract the dread consequences. An old 
nurse once told me that if a plate of salt be placed 
on the breast of a corpse, it would help the dead to 

26 ummit# an& Crummto, 

rest peacefully, as it kept evil spirits from tormenting 
the soul on its journey through the dark valley. 

An old Devonshire friend has sent me the following 
lines, which he is in the habit of repeating when 
small matters go wrong in his household. I believe 
they were written by the poet Gay, from whom he 
must have learnt them when a child. 

Alas, you know the cause too well ! 

The salt is spilt : to me it fell ; 

Then, to contribute to my loss, 

My knife and fork were laid across : 

On Friday, too, the day I dread. 

Would I were safe at home in bed ! 

Last night (I vow to heaven 'tis true) 

Bounce from the fire a coffin flew. 

Next post some fatal news shall tell 

God send my absent friends are well ! 


ONEIROMANCY is the art of interpreting dreams. 
This kind of divination is still in use among the 
masses, and has been practised from the most remote 
ages. In rural districts there are to be found ancient 
dames whose interpretations of dreams are looked 
upon with reverence, and are a source of revenue to 
the old women. 

At breakfast, it is not uncommon for members of 
of a family to narrate their dreams, and seek the eluci- 
dation thereof. 


" A dream is an ill-arranged adHon of the thinking 
faculties during a state of partial sleep, and is but a 
momentary impression, perfectly natural in its oper- 
ation ; the state of mind which causes it being pro- 
duced by temporary functional derangement." 
If I dream of water pure, 

Before the coming morn, 
"Tis a sign I shall be poor, 

And unto wealth not born. 
If I dream of tasting beer, 
Middling then will be my cheer 
Chequered with the good and bad, 
Sometimes joyful, sometimes sad ; 
But should I dream of drinking wine, 
Wealth and pleasure will be mine. 
The stronger the drink, the better the cheer, 
Dreams of my destiny appear. 

The belief that dreams are indicative or symbolical 
of coming events is very common among the masses. 
Some persons look upon dreams as absolutely true 
mediums of revealing the secrets of futurity. 

The following few examples shew " the stuff which 
dreams are made of." 

Ass. To dream one sees an ass labouring under a 
heavy burden, indicates that one will by dili- 
gent application to business amass a fortune. 

Absent ones. To dream of these ill, or in trouble, 
shows they are in danger ; if well, it is a sign 
they are prosperous. 

28 ^ummitg antJ Crummto. 

Angels. A happy dream, showing peace at home, 
and a good understanding with your friends. 

Baby. If you dream of holding a baby in your arms 
it signifies trouble. 

Bells. If you hear them ring it is a good sign, fore- 
telling luck in business and speedy marriage. 

Bees. That you see a swarm of bees signifies you 
will be wise and highly respected. If they 
disturb or sting you, you will lose friends, and 
your sweetheart will abandon you. 

Carriage. If you dream that you are shut up in a 
carriage and cannot get out, it shows that your 
false friends are scandalizing you ; and you 
will suffer much at their hands. 

Cats. Dreaming of cats shews that your female 
friend are treacherous. 

Cards. If you dream you are playing cards it sig- 
nifies that you will shortly be married. 

Dancing. This is fortunate. You will gain riches, 
honour, and many friends. Your life will be 
long, happy, and prosperous. 

The Dead. To dream of the dead brings news of 
the living. 

Ducks. To see them in a pond swimming about is 
an omen of good luck. 

Eggs. That you are eating eggs shews you will be 
delivered from great tribulation. That you 
break them when raw, shews loss of friends 
and fortune. 


Empty Vessels shew that your life will be one of 
toil and privation. 

Eating. Portends sickness and death. 

Fish. To dream of fish shows that you will have an 
abundance of wealth and good things. Also 
that you will be successful in love. 

Fire. To dream of fire shews that you will have 
hasty news. 

Flowers. Always a good dream ; is a sure sign of 
of joy, success and prosperity. 

Garden. To dream of being in a beautiful garden 
shews you will be rich and prosperous in love. 

Glass. Broken glass foretells quarrels and family 

Gold; To dream of gold portends riches. 

Hares. To dream of these implies great trouble in 
pecuniary matters and sickness. 

Horses. Shews that your life will be long and 
happy. If kicked by a horse you will have a 
long and severe illness, and heavy misfortune. 

Ivy. A sign that your friendships are true. 

Inn. To dream that you are staying at an inn is a 
most favourable one. It shews that you will 
inherit a large fortune, be successful in all 
your undertakings, and will enjoy much hap- 

Jackdaw. Beware of danger and evil disposed 

30 $lummit# anli Crummitg. 

Journey. If you are about to take one in your 
dream, you will meet with reverse of fortune. 

Knives are always omens of some evil about to 

Kiss. To dream that some one is kissing you, is a 
sure sign that you are being deceived. To 
dream that you are kissing some one whom 
you love is a sign that your love is not recipro- 

Larks. To dream of these birds is a good sign, as it 
denotes that you will overcome all difficulties 
that may come in your way, and you will 
speedily rise to a good position. 

Lightning without thunder is one of the very 
luckiest dreams. To lovers it means happi- 
ness ; to farmers, good crops ; and to sailors, 
prosperous voyages. 

Mad Dogs. In dreams these are omens of success. 

Magpies. That you will soon be married. 

Nightingales. Nightingales singing are indicative 
of bright days coming and a release from all 
troubles and anxieties. 

Nuts. Indicate the receipt of money. 

Oats. Are lucky omens of success. 

Onions. If you dream you are eating them you 
will find much money. 

Pall. One over a coffin is prophetic of a wedding 

Swpergtitiontf. 31 

Parcel. If you carry one you should receive a 
foreign letter. 

Quarrels. If you dream of them it is a sign that 
you will soon be very profitably engaged in a 
business matter. 

Rain. Is an omen of misfortune. 

Rats. Prophesy enemies near at hand. 

Teeth. To dream of, are the most unlucky of all 
things. If they fall out it signifies much sick- 
ness, if they all drop from the gums, death. 

Ships. Sailing in clear water are favourable omens, 
but if the water be murky, most unfavourable. 

Silver Coins. Picking them up, unless there be 
gold with them, is significant of impecuniosity. 

Ugliness. If you see yourself reflected as very 
ugly it is an omen of success. 

Umbrellas. If you lose them it signifies losses in 

Valentine. Dreaming of receiving one is a bad 
sign, illness and trouble will soon be upon you. 

Violin. If you are playing on one in your dream, 
it denotes speedy marriage ; unless a string 
breaks, then you will not marry at all. 

Water. Dreaming of water, if it be clear will bring 
good news, if dirty, bad news is at hand. 

Wedding. One dreamed of signifies a funeral. 

Yachting in clear water on a sunny day is pro- 
phetic of very great happiness. 

32 /ummit# anti Crummto. 

Yew-trees. You will hear of the death of an aged 
person in whom you have a vested interest. 

In Mackay's Popular Delusions, 1869, occurs the 
following passage, which seems too good to omit. 

" Dreams, say all the wiseacres, are to be interpre- 
ted by contraries. Thus, if you dream of filth, you 
will acquire something valuable ; if of gold and silver, 
you run the risk of being without either ; if of many 
friends, you will be persecuted by many enemies. 
The rule does not, however, hold good in all cases. 
It is fortunate to dream of little pigs, but unfortunate 
to dream of big bullocks. If you dream of fire you 
will have hasty news from a far country ; if of ver- 
min, you will have sickness in your family ; if of 
serpents, your friends will become your bitterest 
enemies ; if you are wallowing up to your neck in 
mud and mire, you will be most fortunate in all your 
undertakings. Clear water is a sign of grief; and 
great troubles, distress, and perplexity are predicted 
if you dream you are standing naked in the public 
streets and know not where to turn for a garment to 
shield you from the gaze of the multitude." 

To dream of walking in a field, 
Where new-born roses odours yield ; 
If any of them you do pluck, 
It shews in love much happy luck. 
To dream of mountains, hills, or rocks, 
Does signify flouts, scoffs, and mocks ; 


Their pains in passing ever shew 

That she whom you love, loves not you. 

Dreams of joy and pleasant jests, 

Dancing, merriment, and feasts, 

Or any dream of recreation 

Signifies love's declaration. 

Dreams full of horror and confusion 

Ending merrily in conclusion, 

Shews storms of love are overblown, 

And after sorrow joy shall come. 

From Forty's Norwood Gipsy's Fortune-teller. 


REPAIR to the nearest churchyard as the clock 
strikes twelve, and take from a grave on the south 
side of the church three tufts of grass, and on going 
to bed place them under your pillow, repeating 
earnestly three several times, 

The eve of St. Mark by prediction is blest, 
Set therefore my hopes and my fears all to rest : 
Let me know my fate, whether weal or woe ; 
Whether my rank's to be high or low ; 
Whether to live single or to be a bride, 
And the destiny my star doth provide. 
Should you have no dream that night, you will be 
single and miserable all your life. If you dream of 
thunder and lightning, your life will be one of great 
difficulty and sorrow. 

34 ^ummittf anti Crummit^ 


MAKE a new pincushion of the very best black silk 
velvet (none other will do), and on one side stick 
your name in the very smallest pins you can buy ; on 
the other side make a cross with some large pins, and 
surround it with a circle. Put this into your left-foot 
stocking when you take it off at night, and hang it up 
at the foot of the bed. All your future life will pass 
before you in a dream. Mackay's Popular Delusions. 

HAPPY Decuman was born of a good family in the 
western part of Wales, of parents strict observers of 
the Christian religion. He, after he had passed his 
childhood at home, as he advanced in years, was of a 
very good disposition ; and at length crossed the 
Severn unknown to all his acquaintance, especially to 
his relations, and to those who seemed to be more 
nearly concerned for his welfare ; trusting in Christ 
alone for his protection. But not to mention any- 
thing more, he paid no freight and had no ship. This 
good man relying upon the mercy of God, not doubt- 
ing but that He would protect him, bound shrubs to- 
gether, which he found growing by the sea-side, and 
making use of such a vehicle committed himself to 
the ocean. Being by divine providence directed, he 
was carried to the opposite shore, near Dart's Castle. 
There was in that part of the country in which he 
landed, a desert place (presumably Exmoor) beset 


with shrubs and briars, which were very long and 
large, and by the hollowness of the vathes was won- 
derfully separated. This place pleased him much : 
changing his native country for a sort of exile, the 
luxury of a palace for the dens of a desert. There he 
began to dwell and to live upon roots and herbs, 
leading the life of a hermit, and by such government 
in the above-mentioned desert, he lived many years. 

It is said also that he had a cow, by the milk of 
which he was more kept alive than nourished, es- 
pecially upon certain festival days. When the fore* 
happy Decuman had flourished in virtues of every 
kind, a certain man, but he, a man of Belial, enjoying 
the holiness of so great a Father, drunk with passion, 
rushed on, and in a brutish manner met him : and as 
he spoke and prayed, he sent the Saint to Heaven by 
cutting off his head. 

But this also is not to be passed by in silence, for 
when he was beheaded with a certain sort of crooked 
hook, as 'tis reported, his body rose itself up and 
begun with its dangling arms to carry his head from 
the place where it was cut off even to a very clear 
well of water, in which he washed his head with his 
own hands as he was used to do ; which well, even to 
this day, in memory and reverence of the Saint, is 
called the pleasant well of St. Decuman, useful and 
well for the inhabitants to drink. In which place his 
head together with his body being afterwards sought 

* This word fore, in the very old original MS., evidently means aforesaid. 

36 |2ummit0 auto Crummitg. 

for by the faithful and found, was delivered to be 
honourably buried. 

Father Cressy, in his Church History, Ixxi, places 
his martyrdom in the reign of King Ina, A.D. 706, 
from the authority of Capgrave and the English 


MISTLETOE, a parasite chiefly found on oak and apple 
trees, was held in great esteem by the Druids, who 
affirmed that miraculous cures were efFedled by its 
means. They ascribed to it a divine origin, and 
bestowed upon it the name " Curer-of-all-ills." 

The trees on which it grew, and the birds visiting 
their branches, were considered sacred, and were 
thought to be the messengers of the gods. When 
mistletoe was required in the performance of their 
sacred offices, great ceremony was observed in separa- 
ting it from the limbs on which it grew ; the priests 
using a golden sickle for the purpose. 

Devonians believe that their county was cursed by 
these ancient religious fathers, and the mistletoe for- 
bidden by them to grow in it. Why this curse was 
laid on Devon there is no record to show. A gentle- 
man possessed an orchard, one half of which is in 
Devon, and the other in Somersetshire, the division 
of the counties being marked by a deep ditch. On 
the Devon side the apple-trees are free, while on the 


Somerset side this parasite grows in abundance. He 
has tried in vain to cultivate it on trees in the banned 


WHEN Joseph of Arimathea came to England he 
visited Glastonbury, so the legend says, and being 
wearied with the long climb up the hill, halted and 
leaned on his stout black-thorn staff. The stick sank 
into the soft mud on the wayside, took root, grew, and 
bloomed on Old Christmas Eve. There it stands to 
this day and always repeats the operation each suc- 
cessive year. There is also a sacred spring at its 
roots, in which thousands of persons came to bathe 
on Old Christmas Eve, A.D. 1751. 

This marvellous thorn has a rival in the grounds of 
Clooneaven House, at Lynmouth, N. Devon, where 
the little bush bursts into vigorous bloom for a few 
hours at Christmastide. Very soon its flowers fade 
and the plant assumes its normal condition until the 
following spring, when it puts on its pretty green 
dress like the rest of its species. 


AT a hamlet near the parish of South Tawton, a 
small town on the borders of Dartmoor, there is an 
interesting story told of a ghost which assumes the 
form of a remarkably handsome Guernsey Cow, and 
appears at midnight promenading to and fro under 

38 ^lummto auto Crummit#. 

the spreading branches of an avenue of elm trees. 
It is said that a lady having done some terrible deed 
of darkness was transformed into a cow and con- 
demned to walk nightly in this avenue for seventy 
times seventy years, bellowing frantically in token of 
the agonies experienced by this unhappy creature 
during her long term of punishment. 


As a gentleman, late at night, was driving across 
the moor to Chagford, a village in mid- Devon, he 
was startled by the merry tinkle of tiny bells. Lights 
appeared in the meadows close at hand as of thous- 
ands of glow-worms shedding their luminous rays on 
every leaflet, while an innumerable company of small 
people tripped joyously to the sportive music. Every 
movement of this assemblage of fairies was distinctly 
seen by him. He reined in his horse, and watched 
for a considerable time their merry antics. He sat 
motionless, the better to catch the spirit of the sportive 
scene. The sward was crowded with myriads of sprites, 
some waving garlands of tiny wild flowers, roses and 
blue bells, others joining in the dance, while not a few 
bestrode the slender stalks of tall grasses, which 
scarcely bent beneath their feathery weight. All 
went merrily till the shrill crow of chanticleer rang 
out on the midnight air, when suddenly darkness fell 
and the gorgeous scene with its fantastically attired 
crowd vanished from the wayfarer's sight. 


The villagers assert that on peaceful nights they 
often hear the echoes of delightful music and the 
tripping patter of tiny feet issuing from the meadows 
and hill sides. 

By wells and rills, in meadows green 
We nightly dance our heyday guise, 
And to our fairy king and queen 
We chant our moonlight minstrelsies, 

When larks 'gin sing, 

Away we fling, 
And babes new-born steal as we go ; 

And elf in bed, 

We leave instead, 
And wend us laughing, ho ! ho ! ho ! 


A MAN having to walk from Princetown to Ply- 
mouth took the road which crosses Roborough Down. 
He started at four o'clock from the Duchy Hotel, and 
as he walked at a good swinging pace, hoped to cover 
the sixteen miles in about three hours and a half' 
It was a lovely evening in December, cold and frosty, 
the stars and a bright moon giving enough light to 
enable him to see the roadway distinctly zigzagged 
across the moor. Not a friendly pony or a quiet 
Neddy crossed his path as he strode merrily onward 
whistling as he went. After a while the desolation 
of the scene seemed to strike him, and he felt terribly 

40 $lummit0 ann Crummit#. 

alone among the boulders and huge masses of gorse 
which hemmed him in. On, on he pressed, till he 
came to a village where a wayside inn tempted him 
to rest awhile and have just one nip of something 
" short " to keep his spirits up. 

Passing the reservoir beds, he came out on an open 
piece of road, with a pine copse on his right. Just 
then he fancied he heard the pit-pat of feet gaining 
upon him. Thinking it was a pedestrian bound for 
Plymouth, he turned to accost his fellow traveller, 
but there was no one visible, nor were any footfalls 
then audible. Immediately on resuming his walk, 
pit-pat, pit-pat, fell the echoes of feet again. And 
suddenly there appeared close to his right side an 
enormous dog, neither mastiff or bloodhound, but 
what seemed to him to be a Newfoundland of im- 
mense size. Dogs were always fond of him, and he 
of them, so he took no heed of this (to him) lovely 
canine specimen. Presently he spoke to him. " Well, 
doggie, what a beauty you are : how far are you 
going ? " at the same time lifting his hand to pat 
him. Great was the man's astonishment to find no 
resisting substance, though the form was certainly 
there, for his hand passed right through the seeming 
body of the animal. " Hulloh ! what's this ? " said 
the bewildered traveller. As he spoke the great 
glassy eyes gazed at him ; then the beast yawned, and 
from his throat issued a stream of sulphurous breath. 
Well, thought the man, I am in for it now ! I'll 


trudge on as fast as legs can carry me, without letting 
this queer customer think I am afraid of him. 
With heart beating madly and feet actually flying 
over the stony way, he hurried down the hill, the 
dog never for a moment leaving him, or slackening 
his speed. They soon reached a crossway, not far 
from the fortifications. When, suddenly the man was 
startled by a loud report, followed by a blinding flash, 
as of lightning, which struck him senseless to the 
ground. At daybreak, he was found by the driver of 
the mail-cart, lying in the ditch at the roadside in an 
unconscious state. Tradition says, that a foul mur- 
der was many years ago committed at this spot, and 
the victim's dog is doomed to traverse this road and 
kill every man he encounters, until the perpetrator of 
the deed has perished by his instrumentality. 

There are similar legends of the doings of the 
Black Dog throughout the county, and many way- 
side public houses have " The Black Dog " for a sign. 



IN ancient times church bells were anointed with 
holy oil, exorcised, and blessed by the bishop, from a 
belief that when these ceremonies had been per- 
formed, they had the power to drive the devil out of 
the air, to calm tempests, protect from lightning, and 
keep away the plague. 

42 jpummitg anli Crummitg. 

The passing bell was anciently rung to bespeak 
the prayers of all Christian people for a soul just de- 
parting, and to drive away the evil spirit who stood 
at the bed's foot to hinder its passage to the other 

Men's death I tell by doleful knell, 
Lightning and thunder I break asunder, 
The winds so fierce I do disperse, 
Men's cruel rage I do assuage. 

A very frequent inscription on church bells in the 
fifteenth century, was voce mea viva depells cunta 

This is a proof of the belief that demons were 
frightened away by the sound of bells. In a Cornish 
belfry the following rhyme is found suspended a- 
against the wall. 

Therefore I'd have you not to vapour, 
Nor blame the lads that use the clapper, 
By which are scared the fiends of hell, 
And all by virtue of a bell. 

One often finds a list of rules displayed on the wall 
of the belfry. The following are quaintly interesting. 

Whoever in this place shall swear 
Sixpence he shall pay therefor. 

He that rings here in his hat 
Threepence he shall pay for that. 


Who overturns a bell, be sure 
Threepence he shall pay therefor. 

Who leaves his rope under feet 
Threepence he shall pay for it. 

A good ringer and a true heart 
Will not refuse to stand a quart. 

Who will not to these rules agree 
Shall not belong to this belfrie. 

Drewsteignton, Devon. John Hole, Ch : Warden. 

The following are the rules, orders and regulations 
found in the belfry at Brushford, Somerset. 

Let awful silence first proclaimed be ! 

Next let us praise the Holy Trinity. 

Then homage pay unto our valiant King, 

And with a blessing raise the pleasant ring. 

Hark ! now the chirping treble rings it clear, 

And covering Tom comes rolling in the rear. 

Now up and set, let us consult and see 

What laws are best to keep sobriety. 

Then all consent to make this joint decree 

Let him who swears, or in an angry mood 

Quarrels or strikes (although he draws no blood), 

Or wears his hat, or spurs, or turns a bell, 

Or by unskilful handling mars a peal, 

Pay down sixpence for each crime ! 

(This caution shall not be effaced with time). 

44 ^ummit^ auto Crummit& 

But if the Sexton's these defaults should be, 
From him demand a double penalty. 
Whoever does his Parson disrespect, 
Or Warden's order wilfully neglect 
By one and all be held in foul disgrace 
And ever banished this harmonious place. 
Now round let's go with pleasure to the ear 
And pierce with pleasing sounds the yielding air, 
And when the bells are up, then let us sing 
God save the Church, and bless Great George 

the King. 

A.D. 1803. June jth. Robert Gooding, Church- 

The spelling in the original of the following notice 

is a little " mixed." 

I. H. S. 

This is the belfry that is free 

For all those who civil be, 

And if you wish to chimeorring 

There is no music playedorsung 

Like unto bells when they'rewellrung. 

Then ring your bells well if you can, 

Silence is best for every man, 
But if you ring in spurorhat, 
Sixpence you pay be sure of that 
And if a bell you overthrow 
Pray pay a groat before you go. 

All Saints, Hastings. 



MANY persons believe that a seventh son can cure 
diseases, but that a seventh son of a seventh son, and 
no female child born between, can cure the King's 


IN the West of England, Sunday is reckoned to be 
the day forleaving off any article of clothing, as then 
those who so divest themselves will have the prayers 
of every congregation in their behalf, and are sure 
not to catch cold. 

It has also been remarked that rooks never attempt 
to build their nests on Sunday, even though there are 
but a few twigs necessary to complete them. 

Some persons object to cut their nails, or turn 
a feather bed on Sunday. 


Things Lucky and Unlucky. 

For every ill beneath the sun 
There is some remedy, or none. 
Should there be one, resolve to find it, 
If not, submit ; and never mind it. 

Things Lucky and Unlucky. 

IT is difficult to define accurately the word ' unlucky ' 
as understood by people in general. It conveys to 
their minds an indistinct supernatural and distressful 
affliction, of an awful character, and for a long time a 
troubled restlessness and fear of approaching evil 
embitters every moment of their lives, until the 
haunting dread wears itself out. 

It however leaves behind a highly-strung nervous 
feeling which springs into activity at the smallest 

The following examples of people's belief in Devon- 
shire, concerning luck, will perhaps be of interest. 

To stumble on ascending stairs, steps or ladders : 

it indicates speedy marriage. 
To find a cast horse-shoe. 
To see the new moon over the right shoulder if 

one is out of doors. 

To see a pin and pick it up will bring the very best 
of luck. 



It is lucky : 

To break a piece of pottery on Good Friday, 

because the points of every sherd are supposed 

to pierce the body of Judas Iscariot. 
To wean a child on Good Friday. 
To carry crooked coins in the pocket. 
To receive the right hand of the bishop on one's 

head at confirmation. 
To sow all kinds of garden seeds on Good Friday. 

Beans and peas sown on this day yield better 

To plant all kinds of ornamental shrubs on Good 

To see a company of fairies dancing in the adit of 

a mine, as it indicates the presence of valuable 

To pay money on the first of January, as it insures 

the blessing of ready cash for all payments 

throughout the year. 
To spit over the right shoulder when one meets a 

grey horse. 
To meet a flock of sheep on the highway when on 

a journey. 

To throw a pinch of salt into the mash when brew- 
ing, to keep the witches out. 
To rest bars of iron on vessels containing beer in 

summer. They prevent " souring of the liquor " 

in thundery weather. 
To have crickets in the house. 

an& Uttluttp. 51 

It is lucky : 

To see a star on the wick of a candle. 

" There's a star in the candle to-night, 
One bright little spot shining clear, 
To make our heavy hearts light, 
By shewing that a letter is near." 

To carry a badger's tooth in the waiscoat pocket : 

it brings luck at cards. 
To have white specks on one's finger nails shews 

that happiness is in store. 

These specks are sometimes called " gifts." 

" A gift on the thumb is sure to come, 
A gift on the finger is sure to linger." 

Or they may be thus enumerated : 

" A gift, a friend, a foe, 

A lover to come, a journey to go." 

To be born on a Sunday; because you can see 
spirits, and tame the dragon who watches over 
hidden treasure. 

To bite a baby's nails before it is a year old instead 
of cutting them, as it ensures its honesty through 

To put the left stocking on first. 

To put the right foot first, because it ensures suc- 

To fell trees at the wane of the moon, and when 
the wind is in the North. 

52 /pummte anli Crummit& 

It is lucky : 

To be the seventh son of a seventh son, for he 
can, by passing his hand over the glands of the 
neck of a person suffering from King's Evil, cure 
the disease. 

On first hearing the cuckoo in spring one should 
run in a circle three times with the sun, to ensure 
good luck for the rest of the year. 

If one hears the cuckoo to the right it portends 
good fortune, but to hear his voice on the left is a 
sure sign of impending misfortune. 

On hearing the cuckoo's note in April run as fast 
as possible to the nearest gate, and sit on the top 
bar to drive away the spirit of laziness. Who ne- 
glects to do this will be weak for a year, and have 
no inclination to work until the ensuing spring 
when the harbinger of spring again returns. 

To possess a rope by which a person has been 
hanged ensures good luck. 

On opening a new business, or entering upon any 
new commercial enterprise, the first money taken 
should be turned over from hand to hand and spat 
upon, to insure good luck in all future dealing. 


To have an empty pocket (even a crooked coin 
keeps the devil away). 

To buy a broom in May 
For it sweeps all luck away. 

JLutty arili (Hnlucfcp. 53 

It is unlucky : 

To pass under a lean-to ladder without first cross- 
ing the middle fingers over the front ones. 
"This superstition," says the Weekly Western 
News, Plymouth, " originates from an old coarse joke 
formerly frequent among the lower class. It took its 
rise from the fact that at the gallows at Tyburn the 
culprit had to walk up a ladder, there being no plat- 
form. The ladder was afterwards withdrawn and he 
was left suspended." 
To break a salt-cellar. 
To spill salt at table without throwing a pinch over 

the left shoulder. 
To help one another to salt. 
To kill a robin. 
To tread on a cat's tail. 
To kill crickets. 

To omit to inform the bees of the death of a 
relative, by tapping at each hive with the key of 
the front door. It is necessary too, to say to 
each hive as one taps " Maister is dead," or 
" Missus is dead," as the case may be. 
To forget to put the bees in mourning, by placing 
a scrap of black crape or cloth on the top of each 
To neglect to communicate any great social or 

political event to the bees. 

(The bees resent the omission of these ceremonies, 
and in consequence cease work, dwindle and die). 

54 Summits? auto Crummit& 

It is unlucky : 

To give a friend a knife ; as it cuts all love away. 

To sneeze before breakfast. 

To turn a feather-bed on Sunday. 

To cut one's nails on Sunday. 

To speak while the clock is striking. 

To put a pair of boots on a table. 

To put bellows on a table. 

To stir the leaves in the teapot before pouring out 
the tea. 

To have a kitten and a baby in a house together. 
The kitten should be sent away in order to secure 
good health to the baby. 

To cross knives. 

To kill a swallow. 

To pass another person on a staircase. 

To break a looking-glass, for it brings seven years 
of trouble, or the loss of one's best friend. 

To kill a small red spider, because this insecl is 
supposed to bring money in its track, hence it is 
often called the " money-spider." 

To begin new undertakings on a Friday. 

To wash clothes on Good Friday. This must be 
studiously avoided to prevent any member of the 
family dying before the year is out. 

To return, or to look back when leaving the house 
to start on a journey, or even when going for a 
short walk. If compelled to return one should 
sit down and rest for a few minutes before mak- 
ing a fresh start. 

Eticfep auto tlnluckp. 55 

It is unlucky : 

To eat any kind of fish from the head downwards, 

as it is against the grain. 
To whistle while underground, because it will 

awaken the evil spirits which inhabit the caves 

of the earth. 

To be born with a blue vein across the nose. 
To decorate a house with peacock's feathers. 

For a miner to meet a snail when entering a mine, 
as it betokens calamity, or probably the exhaus- 
tion of the lode on which he is then at work. 

To see one magpie in a field, or flying across the 
road. Four magpies seen at one time presage 

To reveal a child's Christian name before it is pre- 
sented at the font for baptism. 

To receive the left hand of the bishop on the head, 
at confirmation. It conveys a ban instead of a 

To burn bones, as it will bring pains and aches to 
the person who does so. 

To put an umbrella on a table. 

For a cock to crow at midnight, or a dog to howl 
between sun-set and sun-rise. 

To change houses, or enter into service, on Friday. 

To see a new moon through a glass window, or 
door, or over the left shoulder. 

5<5 ^lummitg anti Crummit^ 

It is unlucky : 

The advent of a comet is supposed to forebode 
disaster and national calamity. 

An eclipse of the sun shews God's displeasure. 

An eclipse of the moon, that the Devil was abroad 
working mischief. 

To see a pin and let it lie, you'll need that and 
hundreds more before you die. 

For a child to refrain from crying when presented 
at the font for baptism. It is thought the more 
it yells and screams, the quicker the evil spirits 
will quit it. 

For an unmarried person to be sponsor at a bap- 
tism : for " First to the font, never to the altar." 

To see a coffin-ring in a candle : it shews that some 
member of the household, or a very near relation, 
will very shortly die. 

For a bird to flutter against the window-panes. 

For a robin to fly into a room and utter its weep ! 
weep ! weep ! 

For a bride to take a last peep at the mirror before 
starting for church. 

To look back after starting on a journey. (Remem- 
ber Lot's wife.) 

To cut a baby's nails or hair before the child is a 
year old. 

To look into a mirror at dusk, or night-time, unless 
the room is well lighted is not pleasant : for 
there is a dread of something uncanny peeping 

Eucfep anti ilnlucfcp. 57 

It is unlucky : 

over the shoulder ; such an apparition would 
portend death. 

To bring into a poultry-farmer's house a small 
bunch of primroses when these flowers first come 
into bloom in the early spring. The number of 
chicken reared that season, are supposed to agree 
with the number of primroses brought in. (I 
once saw a little girl severely punished for this 
offence in South Devon.) 

To hear the melancholy ticking of the " Death- 
watch," in woodwork, is an omen of death. 
" Because like a watch it always cries click, 
Then woe be to those in the house that be sick." 

To see a raven hovering over a house is ominous of 

To take eggs from robins' or wrens' nests. Should 
this be done, cows feeding in the neighbourhood 
will yield discoloured milk, for 

Robin Redbreast and Jenny Wren 
Are God Almighty's cock and hen. 

To transplant parsley. 

To sit down at table as one of thirteen. 

To put the left foot first in starting to walk, as it 
indicates too much caution and brings disappoint- 

For rooks to desert their rookery without any 
apparent reason. This forebodes ill-luck to the 
owners of the property. The heir will be kid- 

58 jl*>ummit anti Crummte. 

It is unlucky: 

napped, or lost, and until the rooks return to their 
quarters, will not be brought back. 

If thou be hurt with the horn of hart, 
It brings thee to thy bier, 
But tusk of boar will leeches heal, 
Thereof have lesser fear. 

Who kills a spider, 
Bad luck betides her. 

To lose a mop or a broom at sea. Children bring 
good luck to a ship. 

To whistle on board ship, as it raises storms, and 
enrages the devil, who in retaliation brews tem- 
pestuous weather and causes shipwrecks. 
Save a sailor from the sea, 
And he'll become your enemy. 

It is said if one's nose itches, that one will be 
kissed, cursed, vexed, or shake hands with a 
fool. To elude the three former ills one gener- 
ally invites the nearest person at hand to give a 
friendly grip. This appears to be rather rough 
on the friend. 

Fishermen are exceptionally superstitious and be- 
lieve that ill-luck attends certain practices : for 
instance, they would never think of turning a 
craft against the sun, or of mentioning rabbits, 
hares, or pigs, while aboard, nor will they lend 
anything from one boat to another. 

2lucfcp auto Qlnluckp. 59 

It is unlucky : 

If the first herring brought aboard for the 
season is found to be a " melt," then a disastrous 
time in the fishing world is to be expected. If 
on the other hand the first brought in is a " roe," 
then hundreds of mease (600) will be caught and 
full purses the result. 

Fishermen consider it most unlucky to throw a cat 
overboard, or to drown one at sea. 

Whoso the wren robs of its nest, 
Health loses in a day ; 
The spoiler of the swallow's house, 
Will ail and pine for aye. 
And he who with his ruthless hands 
Shall tear the robin's cot, 
In his coffin shall have a guilty mark 
A deep red gory spot. 

When unfortunate at cards you should rise from 
your chair, twist it round on one of its legs four 
times. This action is supposed to change the 
luck for the better. 

If one's right ear gets very hot it shows that one's 
friends are speaking in laudatory terms of one. 

On the other hand, if one's left ear burns, then the 
friends are " picking holes in one's jacket." 

Let left or right burn at night, then all things are 
well, both in and out of sight. 

60 j]2ummit# anto Crummitjaf. 


CERTAIN days in each month are supposed to be un 
fortunate, upon which no new enterprise should be 
undertaken. If one makes a bargain, plants or sows 
in the garden, or begins a journey on either of these 
days, misfortune will quickly follow. 

Days of evil strife and hate ; 
Cruel wrath and fell debate, 
Planets strike and stars annoy, 
Aspects, aught of good destroy, 
Shun their calends, 
Heed their power. 
Nought begun in evil hour 
E'er went well. Spirits o'er 
Those days preside, 
Who sport and gibe, 
With human fate ; 
Omens of hate, 
Wrath and debate. 


January, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 

gth, nth. 
February, i3th, I7th, 

1 9th. 

March, i3th i5th, i6th. 
April, 5th, i4th. 
May, 8th, i4th. 

June, 6th. 
July, i6th, 
August, 8th, 1 6th. 
September, ist, i5th, i6th 
October, i6th. 
November, i5th, i6th. 
December, 6th, yth, nth. 



Where is the Necromancer ? let him bring 
His treasury of charms, rich syrups, herbs 
Gathered in eclipse : or when shooting stars 
Sow earth with pearls ; or, let him call his sprites 
Till the air thickens, and the golden noon 
Smote by his wings, is turned to sudden midnight. 



WEST Country people generally, and Devonians in 
particular, are exceedingly superstitious, in spite of 
all that has been done for them in the way of higher 
education, and the enlightening influence of the press. 
Dwellers in the hilly parts of Devon, on Dartmoor 
and Exmoor, and in the villages bordering upon 
them, are as deeply imbued with faith in witches, as 
their forefathers were in the days when Alfred was 

According to tradition there are three kinds of 

The Black Witch, who is of an intensely malig- 
nant nature, and responsible for all the ills that flesh 
is heir to. 

The White Witch, of an opposite nature, is always 
willing, for certain pecuniary considerations, to dis- 
pense charms and philtres, to cancel the evil of the 

The Grey Witch is the worst of all, for she pos- 

64 j|2ummit0 anD Crummftg. 

sesses the double power of either "overlooking" or 
" releasing." 

In cases of sickness, distress, or adversity, persons 
at the present time (A.D. 1898) make long expensive 
journeys to consult the white witch, and to gain relief 
by her (or his) aid. 

The surest method of escaping the influence of the 
evil eye, is to draw blood from the person of the 
witch. Shakespeare, in Henry III, says: 

Devil or devil's dam, I'll conjure thee : 
Blood will I draw. Thou art a witch. 

A country man told me recently that he had " raped 
old mother Tapp's arm with a great rusty nail two or 
three times," till he made the blood flow freely. " She 
can't hurt me again arter that," said he. 

The mode of applying charms and medicaments 
has been handed down to us from the remotest ages. 
The witch doctor cured through the imagination. 
" Conceit will kill and conceit will cure," said a cele- 
brated Harley Street physician to a medical student 
who one day applied to him for advice. It certainly 
is the case with regard to talismans. Playing on a 
patient's will and feelings, has stronger power in 
curing disease than we are inclined to credit. To the 
powerful influence of strong-minded, unscrupulous 
persons over those of weaker constitution may be 
attributed the success of the nostrums prescribed. 
Added to the physical presence of the charm, the 


hypnotic persuasion of the operator compels the 
patient to believe that a cure has been effected 
through the charm. 

Pinches of powdered plants, scraps of inscribed 
vellum, dried limbs of loathsome reptiles, juices of 
poisonous herbs, blood, excrements, and gruesome 
compositions all blend together to make up the 
witch's charms. Who among the weak in mind, the 
uneducated, and the frivolous could resist falling 
a victim to the seductive attraction of a talisman, 
whose virtues would secure health, wealth and happi- 
ness ? Much of a witch's success depended on the 
unremitting persuasive force she exerted on her 
patients to stimulate them to believe implicitly in her. 
This once attained, her influence became unlimited. 
The degree of strength exerted affected the progress 
of convalescence. For mercenary reasons the witch 
took care that a cure was not too quickly brought 

I have interviewed many a believer in the efficacy 
of charms, and from them obtained curious examples 
of miscellaneous articles claiming miraculous powers 
to heal. Besides the sale of charms the white witch 
cures diseases by " striking " and blessing. The fol- 
lowing are a few examples. 

SUSPEND by a silken cord around the neck, a section 
of the rope with which a person has been hanged. 

66 $lummto anli Crummitg. 


PLACE the poison found in a. toad's head in a leathern 
bag one inch square : enclose this in a white silk 
bag, tie it round the neck, allowing the bag to lie 
on the pit of the stomach. On the third day the 
patient will be sick. Remove and bury the bag. As 
it rots so will the patient get well. 


GATHER and dry as much of the herb Fleabane as 
you can find. Each morning during the months of 
June, July and August, burn a handful of the herb in 
the rooms. The smoke will drive the flies from the 


Take an eel and cut off the head. 
Rub the warts with the blood of the head. 
Then bury the head in the ground. 
When the head is rotten the warts fall off. 


THE witch repeats the following prayer while pass- 
ing her hand three times over the burn : 

Three wise men came from the east, 

One brought fire, two carried frost. 

Out fire ! In frost ! 

In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 

Cfjarmg. 67 


Come, butter, come, 

Come, butter, come, 

Peter's waiting at the gate, 
Waiting for a buttered cake. 

Come, butter, come. 

(i) Carry a dead person's tooth in the left waist- 
coat pocket. 

(2) Bite a tooth from the jaw of a disinterred 

(3) "As Peter sat weeping on a stone our Saviour 
passed by and said, ' Peter, why weepest thou ? ' 
Peter said unto Him, ' I have got the toothache.' 
Our Saviour replied, ' Arise and be sound.' " 

And whosoever keeps this in memory or in writing 
will never suffer from toothache. 
( 4 )-Mix 

Two quarts of rat's broth. 
One ounce of camphor. 
One ounce essence of cloves. 
Dose Take one teaspoonful three times a day. 


Mix equal quantities of elixir of toads and powdered 
Turkey rhubarb. 

Dose Half a teaspoonful fasting for three successive 

68 j]2ummit0 ann Crummto. 


Holy chicha ! Holy chicha ! 
This bruise will get well by-and-bye. 
Up sun high ! Down moon low ! 
This bruise will be quite well very soon ! 
In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 



As Christ was born in Bethlehem and baptized in 
the river Jordan, He said to the water, " Be still.'' 
So shall thy blood cease to flow. In the name of the 
Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen. 



TAKE a cast horse shoe, nail it over the front door, 
points upwards. While nailing it up chant in mono- 
tone the following : 

So as the fire do melt the wax 
And wind blows smoke away, 
So in the presence of the Lord 
The wicked shall decay, 

The wicked shall decay. Amen. 


Fennel, rose, vervain, celandine and rue, 
Do water make which will the sight renew. 

Cfjarmg. 69 


PROCURE from a. butcher a bladebone of a shoulder 
of lamb divested of all the meat. Borrow a penknife 
from an unmarried man, but do not say for what 
purpose it is required. Take a yard of white ribbon, 
and having tied it to the bone, hang it as high in 
your bedroom chimney as you can conveniently 
reach. On going to bed pierce the bone with the 
knife once, for nine successive nights, in a different 
place each night, repeat while doing so, the following : 

Tiz not this bone I means to stick, 
But my lover's heart I means to prick, 
Wishing him neither rest nor sleep, 
Till unto me he comes to speak. 

At the end of nine days your sweetheart will ask 
you to bind a wounded finger, or to attend to a cut 
which he will have met with during the time the 
charm was being used. 


WHOSO wishes to see the spectre of a future hus- 
band can do so by performing the following rite. 
Retire to bed just before midnight, as quietly as pos- 
sible. Remove the left garter, and tie it round the 

70 Jliummto auto Ctummit*. 

right stocking, while doing so repeat the following : 

This knot I knit, to know the thing I know not yet 
That I may see, the man that shall my husband be, 
How he goes, and what he wears, 
And what he does all days and years. 

During the night, the future " he " will appear 
dressed in his ordinary attire, carrying some badge of 
his trade or profession. 


ON October 28th, the day dedicated to Saints 
Simeon and Jude, is the most propitious on which to 
use the following incantation for the discovery of the 
future one's initials. Take a fine round apple, peel 
it in one whole length. Take the paring in the right 
hand, stand in the centre of a large room, and while 
waving the paring gently round your head repeat : 

St. Simeon and St. Jude on you I intrude, 
By this paring I hold to discover. 
Without delay, tell me I pray, 
The first letters of my own true lover. 

Then drop the paring over the left shoulder and it 
will form the initial of your future husband's name ; 
if it break up into small pieces you will die an old 



ON seeing the new moon, make the sign of the 
cross three times in the air, and once on your fore- 
head. Clasp both hands tightly together and hold 
them in a supplicating attitude, uplifted towards the 
moon. Then repeat : 

All hail, all hail, to thee, 
All hail to thee, new moon, 
I pray to thee, new moon, 
Before thou growest old, 
To reveal unto me, 
Who my true love shall be ! 

Before the moon is at full the suppliant will see her 
true love. 


WASH the head with plenty of old rum. The back 
and face with sour wine ; wear flannel next the skin, 
and carry a packet of salt in the left-hand pocket. 

OUR dear Lord Jesus Christ was pricked with 
thorns. His blood went back to Heaven again, His 
flesh neither cankered, rankled, nor festered, neither 
shall thine, M. or N. In the name of the Father, Son 
and Holy Ghost. Amen, Amen, Amen. 

72 j]2ummtt# arto Crummitg. 


AFTER morning service in the parish church, the 
nearest male relative, in the case of a woman ; or in 
the case of a man, the nearest female relative, stations 
him or her self, on the right-hand side of the porch, 
holding his or her hat, into which young men (or 
women), between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one, 
drop a penny to the number of thirty. The pennies 
so collected are changed for a silver half-crown. The 
centre of this coin is cut out, and the outer ring is 
suspended as a charm to the neck of the afflicted 
person. The centre piece is reserved until the next 
funeral takes place, when it is dropped into the grave 
just before the coffin is lowered into it. 

SCOUR the inflamed part with strong brine, after- 
wards wash with plenty of soap, plenty too of hot 
water. Eat much raw beef for nine days. 

A white witch professed to be able to restore a lost 
sum of money by the following incantation. 
Flibberty, gibberty, flasky flum, 
Calafac, tarada, lara, wagra wum. 
Hooky, maroosky, whatever's the sum, 
Heigho ! Presto ! Money corne ! 
In the name of the Father, the Holy Ghost, and 
Son. Amen ! Amen ! 



The word "Abracadabra" written on parchment 
was given by an Exeter white witch, to a person who 
desired to possess a talisman against the dominion of 
the grey witch, pixies, evil spirits and the powers of 
darkness ! It cost a guinea, and was sewn up in a 
small black silk bag one inch square. This was hung 
round the neck and never removed. Should it by 
chance fall to the ground, all its properties for good 
would be lost and a new charm must be procured 
from the same white witch, 
or dire misfortune would over- 
take the owner. In " Remi- 
niscences and Reflections," of 
an old West Country clergy- 
man (the Rev. W. H. Thorn- 
ton, rector of North Bovey), 
the word "Abracadabra" oc- 
curs on page 44, in connection 
with a meeting of spiritualists, held in London in 1848. 


THIS talisman should be made ot pure cast iron and 
engraven at the time of new moon. 
Before suspending it round the 
neck fumigate it with the smoke 
of burnt Spirits of Mars (a mix- 
ture of red saunders, frankin- 
cense, and red pepper), or a ring 
of pure gold might be made, with the characters en- 

74 j&ummit* anfc 

graven on the inside. The size and form of this talis- 
man is immaterial so long as the proper time for 
making it is observed and the prescribed incense is 
used before it is worn. In any form it will protect one 
from enemies, and counteract the power of the evil eye. 


WHOEVER wears this charm, written on virgin 
parchment, and sewn up in a 
small round silken bag continu- 
ously over the heart, will obtain 
all the love he or she may desire, 
and will be successful in every 

For amulets against ague one must use chips of a 
gallows. These chips must be sewn into silken bags 
and worn near the heart. 


TAKE three small-necked stone jars : place in each the 
liver of a frog stuck full of new pins, and the heart of 
a toad stuck full of thorns from the holy thorn bush. 
Cork and seal each jar. Bury in three different 
churchyard paths seven inches from the surface and 
seven feet from the porch. While in the act of bury- 
ing each jar repeat the Lord's prayer backwards. 

As the hearts and livers decay so will the witch's 
power vanish. After performing this ceremony no 
witch can have any power over the operator. 



ST. John's Wort, or Devil's Flight, gathered on 
St. John's Day or on a Friday, dried and placed in a 
closely-covered jar and hung in a window, will protect 
the house from thunderbolts, storms, fire, and evil 

If the flowers and leaves are dried and ground into 
powder and then placed in a silken bag and hung 
round the neck, the person will be successful in love, 
and be cured of the vapours and all mental afflictions. 
To insure perfect immunity from these ills, it is 
necessary to operate in July, on the evening of the 
full moon. 



WHEN you first hear the cuckoo in the Spring, take 
some of the earth from the place on which your right 
foot is standing, and sprinkle it on the threshold of 
your front door; but speak of it to no one. Neither 
fleas, beetles, earwigs, or vermin of any sort will 
cross it. 


CUT your toe and finger nails, take these parings, 
wrap in tissue paper, and insert the packet into a slit 
made in the bark of an ash tree before sunrise. You 
will never have toothache again as long as you live. 

76 $lummit# anti Crummitg. 

READ the eighth Psalm seven times for three suc- 
cessive mornings over the patient. 

MAKE a necklace of beads cut from the root of 
henbane and place round the child's neck. 


BAKE a toad and when dried sufficiently to roll into 
powder, beat up in a stone mortar, mix with pow- 
dered vervain. Sew in a silken bag and wear round 
the neck. 


ONE should repeat seven times the following : 
" Clean birds by sevens, unclean birds by twos, 
The dove in the heavens, is the bird which I choose." 

TAKE one or two fine old toads, place them in a cold 
oven, increase the heat until sufficiently fierce to cook 
the toads and reduce them to a brown crisp mass. 
Remove from the oven and beat them to powder in a 
stone mortar. Place the powder in a box and use as 


TAKE several large fully-grown toads, place them in 
a vessel in which they can be burned without their 


ashes becoming mixed with any foreign matter. 
When reduced to ashes, pound them in a stone 
mortar. Place the ashes in a wide-mouthed jar, cork 
closely and keep in a dry place. 

Dose. One teaspoonful of ashes in milk to be 
taken at the growing of the moon for nine mornings. 


TAKE a stale Good-Friday cross-bun and place it in 
a hot oven to dry. By grating when hard into 
powder, and, when required, mixing it with cold water 
and taken as a medicine, it will cure diarrhoea. 
When Good-Friday comes, an old woman runs 
With one, or two-a-penny hot-cross-buns. 
Whose virtue is, if you'll believe what's said, 
They'll not grow mouldy like the common bread. 

To cure itching in the palm of the hand 
Rub it on the eye, 
'Twill go by-and-bye ; 
Rub it on wood, 
'Twill sure to come good. 

TAKE a pail of clean river water, dipped from 
the down-flowing stream, a pair of shears, a large 
key, and a new table knife. Dip the knife into the 
pail of water, draw it back upwards, downwards and 
across the hip three times each way. Then dip the 

anti Crummte. 

key into the water and proceed as before. Then dip 
the shears into water, shear the hip as though it were 
covered with wool. Return the water left in the 
bucket to the river and sing 

As this watter goeth to zay, 

So flow boneshave away. 

BARNGUN is cured by blessing, and the outward ap- 
plication of clotted cream, thus : Take three locks of 
wool one white, one grey, one black dip them into 
a basin of clotted cream, and when thoroughly satur- 
ated, take each lock and rub in succession each in- 
fected spot on the skin. Hang the wool on sprigs of 
white thorn against the wind to dry. Repeat this 
process five, seven, or nine times, as the case may 
require. While lubricating the sores chant in mono- 
tone the following : There were three angels come 
from the west, to cure Simon Fluke (or other) of the 
barngun, white barngun, red barngun, black barngun, 
aching, sticking, pricking, barngun, all sorts of barn- 
gun, barngun-biibee, ill will I prove 'e. I stick thee 
up on thees yer thorn, there thou shalt die, and never 
come near'n no more, in the name of the Father, Son 
and Holy Ghost. Amen. 

AN ancient Devonshire superstition is the potato-cure 
for rheumatism, which should be applied in this way. 


Take a freshly dug early grown kidney potato, wash 
it free from soil, and ask a member of the opposite 
sex to yourself, to place it unobserved in a pocket of 
one of your garments. Having once worn the tuber 
you can change it yourself into another pocket at 
will, but it must be worn continuously, not inter- 
mittently, or its charm will be lost. It is believed 
that as the potato hardens the rheumatism will leave 
the system. A common practice among agricultural 
labourers, is to carry one in every waistcoat pocket 
until its looks like a small grey stone, and has become 
quite as hard. 

BRING an ass before the door of the house, into 
whose mouth thrust a slice of new bread, then pass 
the sick child three times over and under the animal's 
body, and the charm is completed. 


SAY daily at sunrise : 

In the power of God, I walk on my way 

In the meekness of Christ, what thieves soe'er I meet 

The Holy Ghost to-day shall me keep. 

Whether I sit, or stand, walk or sleep, 

The shining of the sun 

Also the brightness of his beams, shall me help. 

The faith of Isaac to-day shall me lead ; 

8o 2ummit# antr Crummte. 

The sufferings of Jacob to-day be my speed. 

The devotion of the holy Lamb thieves shall let, 

The strength of Jesus's passion them beset, 

The dread of death hold thieves low, 

The wisdom of Solomon cause their overthrow. 

The sufferings of Job set them in hold, 

The chastity of Daniel let what they would. 

The speech of Isaac their speech shall spill, 

The languishing faith of Jerom let them of their will. 

The flaming fires of hell to hit them, I bequeath, 

The deepness of the deep sea, their hearts to grieve 

The help of Heaven cause thieves to stand. 

He that made the sun and moon bind them with his 


So sure as St. Bartholomew bound the fiend, 
With the hair of his beard. 
With these three sacred names of God known and 

Miser, Sue, Tetragrammaton, Christ Jesus ! Amen. 

ANOINT your eyes for three days with the combined 
juices of the herbs, dill, vervain, and St. John's-wort, 
and the spirits in the air will become visible to you. 


SAY nine times with great faith these words : 

Blood abide in this vein as Christ abideth in the 
church, and hide in thee as Christ hideth from himself. 
The bleeding will presently cease. 



Hail to thee, holy herb, 
Growing on the ground, 
All on Mount Calvary 
First wast thou found. 
Thou art good for many sores, 
And healeth many a wound ; 
In the name of St. Jesu ! 
I take thee from the ground. 

The muttering of this charm, while concocfting 
drugs or simples, balsams or elixirs, contributes 
marvellously to their efficacy. 


TAKE a fine full-grown toad ; kill him, then take three 
bricks and keep in a very hot oven until they are red- 
hot. Take one out and place the toad upon it ; when 
the brick is cold remove the toad ; then take the 
other bricks and place the toad on them successively 
until he be reduced to powder. Then take the toad- 
ashes and sew them up carefully in a silk bag one- 
and-a-half inch square. When one is bleeding place 
this bag on the heart of the sufferer, and it will 
instantly stay the bleeding of the nose or any 


82 /pummitg anu Crummit& 



ON Christmas eve go into the yard and tap smartly at 
the door of the hen-house. If a hen first cackles, 
you will never marry, but if a cock crows first then 
you will marry before the end of the coming year. 

TAKE as many small stones from a running stream 
as you have warts, put them tightly into a clean 
white bag, and throw them into the highway or 
street. Then wash each wart in strong vinegar seven 
successive mornings. Whoever picks up the bag of 
stones will get a transfer of the warts. 


WRITE on parchment the following and bind it over 
the heart of the patient. 

" In the name of St. Exuperus and St. Honorius, 
fall-fever, spring-fever, quartian, quintain, ago, super 
ago, consummatum est." While fixing this charm to 
the patient, repeat three Paters and three Aves. The 
patient will recover after wearing the charm nine days. 



SEW into a garment which is worn next to the skin 
a long thin herring-bone. As the bone dries up, or 
withers, so will the person wearing it gradually pine 
away and die. 



A LADY wishing to verify the statement that C. of 
Exeter " ruled the planets, thereby foretelling inter- 
esting facts in connexion with the future," sent him 
five shillings, stating at the same time, the hour, date, 
and year of her birth. The following are a few ex- 
tracts from the reply, which consisted of eight closely- 
written pages of foolscap paper. 

Born, June i3th, 1874. 
At 7 hours 13 minutes, p.m. 

At the time of this birth the igth degree of the 
sign Libra ascended the Eastern Horizon, and the 
26th degree of the sign Cancer culminated, and 
Venus who rules or governs the ascendant was posi- 
ted in the sign Taurus in the eighth house. Saturn 
was posited in Scorpio retrograde. 

* * . * * 

This is a sign of a tine with Saturn. Mars and 
Mercury were in conjunction in Pisces in the ninth 
house. The moon was in Sagittarius applying to a 
tine with the Sun in Aries in the seventh house. 

* x # # 

The above configuration of the planets shews the 
native to be over the middle height, with a fine well- 
proportioned body, neatly compacted, moderately 
fleshy, but not stout, or corpulent ; brown hair and 
good complexion, tending to sanguine. Fine brown 

84 ^pummte ant! Crummit#. 

eyes, with tender expression. Of cheerful disposi- 
tion ; merry and mirthful, persevering in all under- 
takings, loves neatness in dress, never guilty of 
extravagance or unworthy action. Of high intelli- 
gence and graceful carriage. 

As regards husbands. The native will do well to 
be cautious in selecting her husbands. The first will 
be respectable, fond of wine, often intemperate, care- 
less in business. Tall, stout, and of a passionate 
disposition, careless in money matters, but generous 
at times. Fond of the pleasures of the table, and 
will die suddenly. The second husband will be tall, 
handsome, with a good complexion, hasty tempered 
but soon appeased, generous, free spirited, will be 
possessed of substantial means, fond of manly sports 
and exercises, highly cultured and intellectual. The 
native must temporize with him, and will then easily 
get her own way in most things. 

She will always have pecuniary worries, and must 
therefore be very careful in all money matters. At 
forty she will lose a relative, but will not be much 
prejudiced thereby. She must never make a friend 
of, or trust any dark woman older than herself. She 
will have many friends and be popular amongst her 
acquaintances. At about fifty-four or sixty-eight she 
will have great trouble, a bad illness, or some untoward 
event is likely to occur. 

The " native " died when about thirty. She mar- 
ried a very tall, pale, thin man, who survives her. 





IN many parts of Devonshire and other western 
counties, the fourth Sunday in Lent is observed as a 
holiday, under the title of Mothering Sunday. Ser- 
vants, apprentices, and young working-folks in general 
visit their parents, and between them make up very 
happy home parties. The previous Saturday is a 
busy day, for the mother is looking forward with 
great pleasure to the morrow's meetings and festivi- 
ties. She busies herself in preparing the materials 
for a good dinner for the joyous youngsters, and gives 
them the very best she can afford. Of course the 
mother ing -cake is her chief care. It is big and rich, 
and must be well baked, sugared, and ornamented 
with fanciful designs. The dinner on Sunday con- 
sists of a hind quarter of lamb with mint sauce, a 
well-boiled suet pudding, seakale, and cauliflower, 
wheat furmity, with home-made wines. The day is 
one of mirthful enjoyment, mutual congratulations, 

88 Jl^ummto anli Ctummitg. 

and benevolence. The remains of the feast are 
usually distributed amongst needy neighbours who are 
unable to purchase these delicacies for themselves. 

The custom arose from the practice of our Roman 
Catholic ancestors going in procession on Mid-lent 
Sunday, from the most distant parts of their parishes, 
to visit the Mother Church ; and, according to the 
custom of the times, much of the day, though nomi- 
nally set apart for a religious service, was devoted to 
festivity and mirth. Instances of such perverted in- 
stitutions are to be met with in the saints' festivals, 
the wakes, the revels, the church-ales, and fairs, many 
of which are still kept up in country villages, to say 
nothing of the more riotous festivities of Lent, 
Easter, Whitsuntide, and Christmas. 

I'll to thee a simnel bring, 
Gainst thou go a-mothering ; 
So that when she blesseth thee, 
Half that blessing thou'lt give me. 


A FORM of amusement popular in Devon and Corn- 
wall is that of the Hobby Horse. This practice of 
assuming the forms of animals and counterfeiting 
their actions is of ancient date and probably formed 
part of the Roman Saturnalia. 

The hobby horse consists of a compound figure. 
The head and tail of a horse, with a light wooden 

Cugtomtf. 89 

frame for the body (generally a couple of very slender 
hurdles joined at the top bars) is attached to the 
shoulders of a couple of strong youths, one in front 
with his head covered with a horse-faced mask, and 
another at the back who cleverly conceals his head 
under the frame. 

The frame covered with trappings reaching to the 
ground hides the feet of the actors and prevents the 
discovery that the supposed horse has none. Thus 
equipped the men prance about, imitating the curvet- 
tings and motions of a horse. 

As the hobby horse perambulates the streets and 
capers about, the village band preceding it, the 
children strike at it with whips and sticks ; uproarious 
shouts of laughter rend the air, and a great deal of 
rough play is indulged in. 


FROM the time of the Roman evacuation of Bri- 
tain, A.D. 410, May Day festivals have been ob- 
served throughout the country. The Saxons retained 
the worship of Maia, the mother of Jupiter, on the 
first of the month, and from this custom the month 
derived its name. 

This popular festival was observed with the joyful 
ringing of bells, music, dancing, and mummings. 
Every building was covered with a profusion of floral 
decorations. Kings and queens did not object to join 

90 j^ummto auto Crummte. 

the members of their Court, civic dignitaries, and the 
populace, in the enjoyment of May Day gaieties. 
The makers of the fun adorned themselves with 
wreaths and festoons of flowers. Girls, wearing a 
profusion of flowers, danced around the Maypole to 
the wild strains of fifes and drums. Men visited the 
beer shops, where they imbibed more than was good 
for them. 

As the custom grew old, abuses crept in, and what 
was once a picturesque and innocent recreation de- 
generated into frantic drunken revels, which were 
a scandal and a nuisance. 

There were, and still are, numerous superstitions 
attached to the merry month of May. Marriages 
taking place in May are supposed to bring ill-luck to 
the contracting parties. Cats born in this month are 
regarded as unpleasant creatures to have about one, 
as the practice of bringing into the house snakes, 
toads, and other objectionable vermin is ascribed to 

May-dew, collected before or close upon sun-rise, 
is looked upon as an infallible beautifier of the com- 
plexion. Young girls arose early to wash their faces 
in it with the hope that their charms would be in- 
creased. On returning from the fields they would 
gather branches of hawthorn bloom, and suspend it 
over the entrance to the house, to protect it and 
themselves from the spells of witches and the evil 


On the first of May, persons were sent on ridiculous 
errands, and on their return, empty handed, were 
derisively addressed as May giize-chicks, or May 

The old-fashioned demonstrations of mirth and 
hilarity have dwindled to feeble exhibitions of ill- 
dressed dolls, decked with wild flowers, carried in the 
hands of village children from house to house, where 
the occupants reward them with a few sweets or 
pence. Then the children sing the following words. 

Round the Maypole 
Trit, trit, trot, 
See what a Maypole 
We have got, 
Fine and gay, 
Trip away, 

Happy is our New May-day. 
Good morning, merry gentlefolks ! 
We wish you a happy May ; 
We come to show our May garland, 
Because 'tis the first of May. 
Come kiss my face. 
And smell my mace, 
And give the little children 
Something ! 

At Helston, in Cornwall, the May-day festivals are 
still observed with all the old-time spirit and enthus- 

92 ^ummit# and Crummitg. 


THE custom of burning the yule log is observed in 
large country houses, at the present time, on Christ- 
mas Eve, but where the fireplaces are contracted and 
slow-combustion grates the vogue, small branches of 
green ash, are cut fresh from the plantation. These 
sawn into lengths the width of the grate are tied into 
faggots with four or five strong binds of bramble 
canes. Very large faggots, which are intended to be 
burnt in old-fashioned kitchen fireplaces, are bound 
with chains. The bramble binds are a source of 
much amusement, for soon after being placed on the 
dogs, they burn through, one by one. Before they 
begin to light and burn, each of the youngest mem- 
bers of the family choose a bind, and whose is first 
burnt through will be the first to marry. It is cus- 
tomary for the company to drink a quart of cider at 
the bursting of each bind, so that by the time the 
whole have given way, there has been a large con- 
sumption of that beverage. It soon begins to in- 
fluence the flow of spirits and induces a hilarious state 
of mind, increasing in strength as the night advances. 


THIS is a festival of the Romish church, designed to 
commemorate the finding of the Cross upon which 
Jesus suffered, by St. Helena. 

On the first Monday after the third of May, this 
festival is annually held at Bovey Tracy. It is known 


as Roodmas Day. A procession is formed and the 
perambulation of the bounds of the parish takes 
place. Huge garlands of flowers are carried on the 
points of staves, and every available space on the 
house walls is decorated with a profusion of blooms. 


A PRACTICE obtains at Ideford, near Newton Abbot, 
of picking up alms from the donor's tomb on Good 
Friday on each succeeding year. The rector and 
churchwardens stand at one end of the flat table- 
shaped monument, and there place the coins upon 
the surface, while the recipients of the charity come 
one by one to the other end of the tombstone and 
pick up the money. This custom has been uninter- 
ruptedly in force for more than three hundred years. 


OAKAPPLE Day, otherwise King Charles' Day, was 
instituted to commemorate the escape of Charles II, 
on May 2gth, 1657, from the hands of Cromwell after 
the battle of Worcester, by concealing himself in a 
tufted oak in the woods of Boscobel. 

This day was, in the early part of the century, 
observed at Tiverton, in a rough and boisterous 
fashion. Doubtless Tiverton was not the only town 
at which the holiday was kept, but certainly no place 
could exceed it in mad revelry or wild enthusiasm. 
Directly the day began the bells of St. Peter's Church 

94 |2ummit# anti Crummit& 

clanged out furiously, awakening the inhabitants and 
warning the young folk that it was time to bestir 
themselves. Quickly donning their oldest garments 
the men turned out and started to collect faggots 
of greenery from every avaliable hedge and wood. 
The fronts of public buildings, shops and dwelling 
houses were profusely decorated with branches of 
oak, from which depended scores of oakapples pre- 
viously gilded or covered with silver paper. Every 
man wore oak sprigs and a small oakapple in his 
button-hole and his hat was encircled with a wreath 
of oak leaves. Woe betide him who neglected to 
adorn his house or his person. 

Charles and Cromwell were both befittingly rep- 

The Royalist party was distinguished by its proud 
bearing and smart attire, while the roundhead party 
was expected to look the reverse of gentlemen. 

Charles, enthroned in a gaily-decorated chair was 
borne on the shoulders of four stalwart men through 
the principal streets, and great homage and profound 
respect were paid to him. 

On the reverse, Cromwell was represented by the 
coarsest and most repulsive-looking scoundrel the 
town could produce. He was naked to the waist, and 
gloried in a long shaggy tail made of a hempen rope 
much frayed at the end. With this he belaboured 
any mischievous urchin who dared to interfere with 
his progress. Around his waist was tied a huge bag 


filled with soot. Himself and attendants were thick- 
ly daubed with oiled lamp-black and other disgusting 
compositions. At noon, when Charles had trium- 
phantly made his procession through the town, the 
mischief began. Cromwell so managed his affairs 
that the two parties met each other at the bottom of 
Bampton Street, just opposite the entrance to the 
" Three Tuns Hotel." Now the gambols began, 
Cromwell plentifully besmeared all on whom he and 
his followers could lay hands, and carried them off to 
imprisonment till later on. Of course, in the general 
scrimmage that ensued, prisoners were captured on 
both sides, to be ransomed by their own friends 
at five o'clock, when the street entertainments ended 
and wilder orgies at the public houses began. The 
money collected was spent in mad carousals and 
jollifications. No women could venture into the 
streets ; if there were any brave enough to do so, it 
was at the peril of their lives. Next day many a 
head ached, and vows were registered that " Never 
no more wid any body git up tii theyse zoart o' May 
games agen." 

This barbarous pastime has now entirely died out, 
and is only held in remembrance by Blundell's 
scholars, who, in hopes of getting a half-holiday, 
decorate the masters' desks and chairs with oak 
boughs before morning school. Let us hope that the 
headmaster does not turn a deaf ear to their silent 

96 /pummte anti Crummit#. 


A VERY old custom, that of crying the neck at the 
end of corn harvest, still obtains in some parishes in 
the west of England. 

When the last sheaf of wheat is cut at the end of 
August, the reapers take the very last handful of 
straw and plait the ends together, tying them with 
lengths of bright-coloured ribbons ; then, lifting it 
high above their heads, wave their sickles frantically, 
and shout : 

We-ha-neck ! we-ha-neck ! 
Well aplowed ! well asowed ! 
We've areaped ! and we've amowed ! 

Hurrah ! hurrah ! hurrah ! 
Well-a-cut well abound ! 
Well-a-zot upon the ground ! 
We-ha-neck ! we-ha-neck ' 
Hurrah ! hurrah ! hurrah ! 

There are many variants of the cry, but the above 
seems to be the one in general use. At Paignton, the 
farmer's name is introduced, thus : 

A-neck ! a-neck ! a-neck ! 

Whose neck ? 

Varmer Ferris'es ! Varmer Ferris'es 
Its all a-cut ! 
And all abound ! 
And all ataken from the ground, 
Hip ! hip ! whorrah ! whorrah ! 


There are some slight differences in performing the 
ceremony. I have seen this done in the neighbour- 
hood of Newton Abbot, at a farm situated on the 
western slope of Haldon. All the reapers (between 
twenty and thirty) formed a semicircle, with the 
farmer in their midst, and the ladies of the family 
close at hand. The head man held the "neck" 
above his head, and waved it quickly to and fro, and 
gave the first shout of " a-neck ! a-neck ! " 

The rest took up the cry and waved their sickles. 

After this the cyder-firkin was passed round from 
mouth to mouth. Then a start was made for the 
farmer's kitchen, where a substantial supper of beef, 
pork, vegetables, figgy-pudden, cream, junkets, and 
gallons of cyder awaited the hungry reapers. When 
justice had been done to the viands, tobacco and long 
churchwardens (clay pipes) were produced. More 
and much cyder at last provoked merriment and in- 
describable tumult. Some recounted their exper- 
iences in winter by flood, snowstorm, and hurricanes. 
Others their interviews with the Dowl on lonely hills, 
their wanderings over swampy meadows in the foot- 
steps of Jack-o-lantern. Others their efforts to resist 
the evil eye, and the malignant devices of the witch. 
Some sung delightful old songs (specimens of which 
will be found at the end of this book) ; and not until 
the daylight streamed through the diamond-shaped 
window-panes did they seek their beds. I should say 
that the wives and elder children of the men were also 


98 J12ummtt# anli Crummitg. 

partakers of the harvest-supper. The neck is carried 
into the house and hung over the centre of the kitchen 
table for a year, and when replaced by the new neck 
it is given to the best beast in the stall. 

The word a-neck is said to be derived from the 
Celtic language, and means " saved." Others claim 
for it an Irish origin, as the word " anaie " in that 
country means " save thou me." While another 
suggestion is that the custom may have been derived 
from the Jewish ceremonial of the wave offering men- 
tioned in Leviticus xxiii, 10, and following verses, 
and introduced by the early Hebrew settlers in 
Britain. A long correspondence was carrried on in 
August, 1898, in the Western Morning News, on this 
ceremony, from which I glean that the practice is 
identical in every part of the county, but there are 
differences in the mode of its performance. 

AT many towns and villages in Devonshire, on the 
the first Saturday after Christmas-day, and at Lady- 
day, it was customary, up to a recent date, for 
women and girls desirous of being hired as domestic 
servants to repair to the " fair-field " of the district 
and stand in rows on exhibition. Persons in need of 
servants would then make a tour of inspection and 
select such as appeared suitable to their requirements. 
This custom prevailed until a few years ago, at 
Holsworthy, Okehampton, and South Molton. 

Cutftomg. 99 

After the business of the day was over a revel or 
pleasure fair was held, known as " The Giglet Fair " 
and " Giglet Market." 

At Okehampton Giglet Fair, bachelors were 
allowed, without the ceremony of introduction, to 
approach, make love, and propose to the " giglet " of 
their choice. It frequently happened that the joy bells, 
in a few weeks, announced the success of their venture. 


THE Divining Rod is known also as the Dowsing 
Rod, Moses's Rod, and the Virgula. It is simply a 
twig of this form V, each limb being from ten inches 
to twelve inches long, cut from a cherry tree, hazel, 
or white thorn. The operators are named dowsers, 
diviners, water-witches, or water-finders. Great in- 
terest is attached to the rod, as used for the purpose 
of discovering subterranean water-springs and lodes 
of ore. Its mysterious properties have been exempli- 
fied in numberless instances. The satisfactory finding 
of water by its aid was recently shewn at Tiverton, 
Plympton, Plymouth, Chumleigh, and many other 
places, which caused much correspondence for and 
against the " art " in the Western Morning News and 
other west country newspapers. In Cornwall, too, 
the dowser has pointed out spots where valuable 
lodes of metals have been unearthed. One case in 
particular may be quoted at Great Briggan, when 
the late Captain Trelase was the diviner. 

ioo jpummtttf anti Crttmmto, 

The modus operandi is very simple, The water- 
witch holds the thin arms of the twig between his 
fingers and thumbs with the point projecting out- 
wards, while he walks steadily over the suspected 
spring or lode. If there be water or mineral below, 
the hazel turns upwards with a sudden jerk, if there 
is neither, it remains passive. It is said that the 
operator experiences peculiar sensations in his limbs 
as the twig vibrates, and that his face assumes an 
agitated expression. All persons are not sympathetic 
and the twig lies inert in their hands, but with a born 
dowser the rod very soon puts on vitality, and fre- 
quently completes a circle breaking short off at the 
points. Hundreds of persons pooh-pooh the whole 
thing and condemn it as a trick, and are surprised 
that in these days of scientific attainments people 
should be found weak enough to pin their faith to the 
virtues of a twig. Despite opposition and ridicule 
the search for water by this means is popular 
throughout Devon and her sister-counties. 


IN old fashioned markets it is customary to give luck- 
money on an animal being sold by the farmer himself. 
The practice is gradually dying out, as auctions are 
taking the place of private contracts. In some places 
a penny merely passes from the seller to the buyer, a 
practice arising, probably, from some superstitious 

Cugtomg. 1 01 

belief. In some districts a shilling or half-a-crown is 
given as luck-money. In others again, a man will 
deal and give a certain sum for a cow or a horse with 
the proviso that five or ten shillings shall be returned 
for luck or chap money. The origin of this custom 
is unknown. Sometimes, when engaging a servant, a 
shilling is given to clench the bargain. This is called 
earnest money. 


A PECULIAR wedding custom observed at Lynton, 
North Devon, is that of chaining the bride at the 
gates of the churchyard. Young men stretch pieces 
of rope, adorned with flowers, or chains of twisted 
hay and straw decorated with ribbons and flowers, 
across the gateway, effectually preventing the exit of 
the bridal party. Thereupon the bridegroom scatters 
broadcast handfuls of small coins. The chain is 
immediately dropped and a rush made for the money 
leaving the bride free to proceed on her way. Some- 
times, where special honour is paid to the bride, 
several chains are encountered on her way to her old 
home, and the bridegroom has again and again to pay 
his footing as a husband. 


THE daisy is popularly looked upon as the emblem of 
modesty. In the days of chivalry in Europe the 

102 jpummitg ann Crummitjef. 

daisy played an interesting part in many a love affair. 
When a knight was an accepted lover, his lady 
allowed him to engrave a daisy on his arms ; when 
he proposed and she would neither say " Yes " or 
"No," she wore a crown of field daisies, which meant 
" I'll think about it." Readers of Faust will re- 
member how Margaret, as she walked in the garden, 
plucked off the petals of an aster, one after another, 
saying, half aloud " He loves me, he loves me not 
he loves me not he loves me not he loves me ! " 
This old-world custom is still in vogue among the 
lasses of sunny Devon. 

Weather Lore and Wise Saws. 

Weather Lore and Wise Saws. 

THE ancients observed with profound attention the 
natural phenomena of their time, the study of which 
helped them to make fairly accurate forecasts of the 
weather, and taught them to begin farm work and 
domestic affairs at the most favourable moment. 
They walked as it were hand in hand with nature, 
learning to interpret her subtle operations by mar- 
vellous intuition. 

The flight of birds, the voices and actions of ani- 
mals, the development of vegetation, all lent their 
aid to predict atmospheric changes. 

Then the following traditions and proverbs were 
popular, and have been handed down from the earliest 

If Christmas Day on Monday be, 
A great winter that year you'll see. 
And full of winds both loud and shrill ; 
But in summer, truth to tell, 
High winds there shall be, and strong, 
Full of tempests lasting long ; 
While battles they shall multiply, 
And great plenty of beasts shall die. 

io6 ^ummte anli Crummte* 

They that be born that day, I ween, 
They shall be strong each one, and keen 
He shall be found that stealeth aught ; 
Though thou be sick, thou diest not. 

If New Year's Day happen on a Saturday the win- 
ter will be mean, the summer hot, the harvest late, 
garden-stuff good and cheap, honey, flax, and hemp 

If the weather be dry and bright on January 26th, 
the year will be generally of the same type. St. Paul 
is the guardian saint of this day. 

If the day of St. Paul be clear, 
Then shall betide a happy year, 
If it do chance to snow or rain, 
Then shall be dear all kinds of grain, 
But if the wind then be aloft, 
Wars shall vex this realm full oft, 
And if the clouds make dark the sky, 
Both beasts and fowl this year shall die. 
When midges in January play and fly, 
Treasure your fodder for beasts in July. 

A January spring is nothing worth. 

January freezes the pot upon the fire. 

If the grass grow in January, it grows the worse 
for it all the year. Lock your grain in the granary. 

As the days lengthen so does the cold strengthen. 

If the weather on Candlemas Day, February 2nd, 

flflleatijer ot* anti ftflltee fe>atog, 107 

be bright and dry, there will be a long continuance of 

cold wintry weather. 


If Candlemas Day be dry and fair, 
The half of the winter is to come, and mair, 
If Candlemas Day be wet and foul, 
The half of the winter is gone at yule. 


If Candlemas Day be fair and bright, 
Winter will have another fight, 
But if Candlemas Day be clouds and rain, 
Winter is gone, and will not come again. 

If a storm comes on February 2nd, spring is near ; 
but if that day be bright and clear, the spring will be 

When drops hang on the fence on February 2nd, 
icicles shall hang there on March i4th. 

There is always one fine week in February. 
When it rains in February it will be temperate all 
the year. 

All the months in the year curse a fine Februeer. 


If in February there be no rain, 
The hay won't goody, nor the grain. 
All other months of the year 
Most heartily curse a fine Februeer. 

February fill dyke, be it black or be it white ; but 
if it be white, the better to like. 

io8 /]2ummit0 auto Crummitg. 

If bees get out in February the next day will be 
rough and rainy. 

When the cat in February lies in the sun, she will 
creep under the grate in March. 

Remove all Christmas decorations before Candle- 
mas Day. 

Down with the rosemary and the bays, 
And down with the mistletoe, 
Instead of the holly now upraise 
The bright green box for show. 


If so the superstitious find, 
One tiny branch just left behind, 
Look ! for every leaf there may be, 
So many goblins shall plague thee. 
If the eighteen last days of February be wet, and 
the first days of March, you'll see that the spring 
quarter, and the summer too, will prove to be wet, and 
danger will ensue. 

February and be ye fair, 
The hoggs will mend, and nothing pair ; 
February and be ye foul, 
The hoggs will die in the pool (Scotch). 
If March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a 
lamb, and vice versa. 

March winds and April showers, 
Bring forth May flowers. 
Dust in March brings leaves and grass. 

fl&leatljer Elore anto Wii&z s5>ato#. 109 

A peck of March dust is worth a king's ransom. 
As many mists in March so many frosts in May. 

On the first of March 

The crows begin to search. 

The black army (fleas) arrives on March ist. 
Much March dust, and a shower in May, 
Makes the corn green and the fields gay. 
A damp warm March will bring much harm to the 

Snow in March is bad for fruit and grape wine. 
If it does not freeze on the loth of March, a fertile 
year may be expected. 

When flies swarm in March, sheep come by their 

March dust and March wind, bleach as well as 
Summer's sun. 

March flowers make no Summer bowers. 
March borrows three days of April, 
The first brings sleet, 
The second brings snow, and 
The third is the worst day that ever blew. 
In a very old magazine I found the following, which 
leads one to suppose that the cuckoo arrives in 
March : 

In March the giikii begin'th to sarch. 
In Aperal he begin'th to tell, 
In May he begin'th to lay, 
In July away he do fly. 

i io ummtt# anli Ctummte. 

A dry April is not the farmer's will. 
In April wet is what the farmer would get. 
Till April is dead, change not a thread. 
What March does not want April brings along. 
When April blows his horn, 
"Tis good for hay and corn. 
On the first of April crows are still sitting. 
April floods carry off frogs and their broods. 
The cuckoo comes in April. 

When the cuckoo comes to the bare thorn, 
Sell your cow and buy you corn ; 
But when he comes to the full bit, 
Sell your corn and buy you sheep. 
If it thunders on All Fools' Day, 
There will be good crops of corn and hay. 
Fogs in April foretell a failure of the wheat crop 
for next year. 

One should look for grass in April on the top of an 
oak, because grass seldom springs well before the oak 
puts forth its leaves. 

Fine warm weather from Easter to Whitsuntide 
produces much grass and cheap butter. 

As the weather is on Ascension Day, so will it be 
the entire autumn. 

If it rains on Good Friday and Easter Day, 
There'll be plenty of grass and a little good hay. 
April and May between them make bread for all 
the year. 

Eore anto Wii&t &ato0. 1 1 1 

April rains for men : May for beasts. 
Button to the chin till May be in. 
Marry in May you'll rue it for aye. 
No wind is colder than a May wind. 

For a warm, wet May 

The parsons do pray, 

For then death-fees 

Come their way. 

A May wet 

Was never kind yet. 

A cold May is kindly 
And fills the barn finely. 
A cold May is good for corn and hay. 
For an East wind in May it is your duty to pray. 
A snowstorm in May, 
Brings weight to the hay. 

The more thunder in May the less there will be in 
August and September. 

By the first of May young crows will have flown 

May, come she early, come she late, 
Still she'll make the cow to quake. 
A May flood never did good. 
Shear sheep in May you'll shear them all away. 
He who bathes in May, will soon be laid in clay. 
A swarm of bees in May is worth a stack of hay. 
In May the cuckoo sings all day. 

anti Crummtt#. 

Change not a clout till May be out. 

Who doffs his coat on a Winter's day, will gladly 
put it on in May. 

A dry May and a rainy June, 
Puts the farmer's pipe in tune. 

A misty May and a hot June, 
Makes the harvest come right soon. 

A dripping June brings all things in tune. 

A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon. 

Before St. John's day we pray for rain, after that 
we get it anyhow. 

The change which takes place in the voice of the 
cuckoo is thus quaintly described by a sixteenth 
century poet 

In April the coo-coo can sing her song by rote, 
In June oft time she cannot sing a note ; 
At first koo-koo ! koo-koo ! sings till she can do, 
At last kooke-kooke-kooke ; six kookes to one koo. 

If July ist be wet and rainy, it will continue so for 
four weeks or more. 

He, who in July the cuckoo's voice doth hear, 
Will die before he comes next year. 

A swarm of bees in July is not worth a fly. 

If it rain on July loth it will rain for seven 

Ne'er trust a July sky. 

flflleat&er Jiwz anti Wii&z >ato0. 1 1 3 

All the tears St. Swithen can cry (July 15), 
St. Bartlemy's mantle can dry (August i4th). 
St. Swithen's day if thou be fair, 
For forty days 'twill rain na mair, 
St. Swithen's day if thou be'st fine, 
For forty days it will remain. 
St. James' day gives oysters, 
St. Swithen's day gives rain. 

He who eats oysters on St. James' day will lack 
money to the year's end. 

A shower of rain in July, when the corn begins to 
kern, is worth a plough of oxen, and all belonging 

Very hot July, August, and September, breed hard 
frosts and intense cold for the next January. 

If the deer rise up dry and lie down dry on 
St. Bullion's day (July 4th), it is a sign there will be 
a good goose harvest. 

Dog days bright and clear, 
Portend a happy year ; 
But if accompanied with rain, 
For better times all hopes are vain. 
A heavy rainfall in the middle of July shows that 
St. Mary Magdalene is washing her handkerchief to 
go to her cousin St. James' fair. 

St. Bartholomew brings the cold dew (August 24th). 
Dry your barley in October 
Or you'll always be sober. 

ii4 jpummitg auto Crummit& 

Warm October, cold February. 
The 28th of October was anciently accounted as 
certain to be rainy. 

October's brew 

Will fuddle you. 
There are always nineteen dry days in October. 

If October bring heavy frosts and winds, then will 
January and February be mild. 

For every fog in October a snow in the winter, 
heavy or light according as fog is heavy or light. 

As the weather is in October, so will it be in the 
next March. 

Full moon in October without frost, no frost till full 
moon in November. 

If the first snow fall on moist, soft earth, it indi- 
cates a small harvest ; but if upon hard, frozen soil 
a good harvest the following year. 

When it freezes and snows in October, January 
will bring mild weather ; but if it is thundery, and 
heat-lightning prevail, the weather will resemble 
April in temper. 

October should be a fill-dyke. 

Crows groping greedily come back again, 
With October's wind and rain. 

In December keep yourself warm, and sleep. 

The worse weather for the rider, is the better for 
the bider. 

Eore auto flflligfe femtog. 1 1 5 

If it rain on a Sunday before the mass, it will rain 
all the week more or less. 

Mackerel skies and colts' tails 
Make big ships carry little sails. 

Many a cloudy morning 
Brings forth a sunny noon. 

Leap year never brings a good sheep year. 

Hail brings frost on its tail. 

When beans are in bloom brew not your ale. 

When elder is white, brew and bake a peck. When 
elder is black, brew and bake a sack. 

When the sloe-tree is white as a sheet, sow your 
barley whether it be dry or wet. 

Ash before oak, there will be a soak, 
Oak before ash, there will be but a splash. 

No one so surely pays his debt 
As wet to dry, and dry to wet. 

A Saturday's new moon once in seven years is once 
too soon. 

If the moon on a Saturday be new or full, 
There always was rain and always will. 

When the new moon is on her back, or shows her 
horns, it is a true sign of rough, boisterous weather, 
accompanied with heavy rain. 

Winter's thunder and summer's flood, 
Bodes to old England nothing good. 

n6 jpummitg auto Crummte. 

East wind and west the sign of blast, 
North and south the sign of drouth. 

He who by the plough would thrive, 
Himself must either hold or drive. 

When the wind is in the east, 

It's neither good for man nor beast. 

When the dim form of the full moon can be seen in 
the lap of the new moon, it is considered by some to 
be a sign of rain. By sailors and fishermen it is sup- 
posed to presage tempestuous weather. 

I saw the new moon late yestreen, 
With the old moon in her lap : 
And if we gang to sea master, 
I fear some dread mishap. 

When the wind is in the north, hail comes forth, 
When the wind is in the west, look for a wet blast ; 
When the wind is in the south, the weather will be 

fresh and good, 
When the wind is in the east, cold and snow comes 


Who ploughs deep while sluggards sleep, 
Will have corn to sell and to keep. 

'Twixt twelve and two, 
Will shew what the day will do. 

Every wind hath its weather. 

anti Wii&t feato& 117 

Autumn is wheezy, sneezy, freezy ; 
Winter is slippy, drippy, nippy ; 
Spring is showery, flowery, bowery ; 
Summer is hoppy, croppy, poppy. 

North wind brings hail, 
South wind brings rain, 
East winds we bewail. 
West winds blow amain, 
North-east wind is too cold, 
South-east wind not too warm, 
North-west wind is far too bold, 
South-west wind doth no harm. 

When the wind is in the east, 
The fisherman likes it the least ; 
When the wind is in the west, 
The fisherman likes it the best. 

No weather is ill, if the wind be still. 

A west wind north about, 
Never long holds out. 

When the wind is in the west, 
Then the weather's always best. 

A western wind carries water in its hand. 
A northern air brings weather fair. 

W r hen the wind is in the south, 
'Tis in the rain's mouth. 


The southern wind 

Doth play the trumpet to his purposes 
And, by his hollow whistling in the leaves 
Foretells a tempest, and a blustering day. 


IF a heron or bittern flies low, the air is becoming 
charged with water vapour. 

When kine view the sky, stretching up their heads 
and snuffing the air, moist vapours are engendering, 
the cause of their doing so being their sensibility 
of the air's sudden alteration from dry to wet ; and 
sudden rain will ensue, though at that time the sun 
may be shining brightly. 

The chattering of swallows and their flying low 
about lakes and ponds denote rain. 

The much croaking of frogs in the ditches and 
pools, &c., in the evening, foretells rain in a short 
time to follow. 

The sweating of stone pillars denotes rain. 

Ants moving their eggs denotes rain, for by a secret 
instinct of nature finding the air changing into much 
moisture, they carry them to a place of drier security. 

Crows flocking in large flights, holding their heads 
upwards as they fly, and cawing louder than usual, is 
a sign of rain, as is also their stalking by ponds and 
rivers and sprinkling themselves. 

Sore ann oaitee featog. 1 19 

The frequent dropping and diving of waterfowl fore- 
shows that rain is at hand. 

Peacocks crying much denotes rain. 

Cattle leaving off to feed and hastening to shelter 
under hedges, bushes, trees, outhouses, &c., shows 
sudden showers are coming. 

Expect rain if the stalks of clover stand upright ; 
if the flower of the convolvulus closes ; if the flowers 
of the sorrel and of the African marigold close ; if 
the flower of the pitcher-plant turns upside down ; if 
the flower of the cinquefoil expands. 

Fine weather is preceded by the opening of the 
flowers of the sorrel or the closing of the cinquefoil, 
and the standing erect of the flower of the pitcher- 

A foot deep of rain 
Will kill hay again ; 
But three feet of snow 
Will make it come mo'. 
When hemp is ripe and ready to pull, 
Then Englishman, beware of thy skull. 
The kingfisher builds its nest in holes in the banks 
of a river. Should it become dislodged and float 
down the river and out on the surface of the sea with- 
out capsizing, then there will be a long spell of fine 

In some parts of the country this bird is used as a 
vane, not exposed to the action of the wind, but 

120 ^ttmmto anli Crummit^ 

stuffed and suspended in a room by a thin string, its 
bill always indicating the point from which the wind 

Into what corner peers the halcyon bill ? 

Ha ! to the east yes see how stands the wind. 

"The antients supposed that it built its nest on the 
ocean, and hatched its young at the winter solstice. 
To account for the preservation of the nest and 
young birds amidst the severity of the season, they 
imagined that the bird had a power of lulling the 
raging of the waves during the period of incubation ; 
and this power was believed to reside in its song," so 
says the author of Chambers's Information for the 
People, vol. ii, page 447. 

A gentleman who once visited the west country 
thinks the following fairly represents the chronic con- 
ditions of Devonshire weather : 
One unlucky Friday, with sorrow and pain 
I proceed to record it, it came on to rain, 
It rained on the Saturday, rained on the Sunday, 
It rained every hour of the day on the Monday. 
On Tuesday it rained cats and dogs as they say, 
And Wednesday was also a very wet day, 
On Thursday and Friday, especially the latter day, 
It rained very hard, but my gracious on Saturday 
The rain was most dreadful, a great deal more bad 
Than that of any other day we had had. 

Anti-Pluvius, Western Morning News, 
Feb. lyth, 1899. 

Eore auto (Lfllte* featogf. 121 


The hollow winds begin to blow, 
The clouds look black, the glass is low, 
The soot falls down, the spaniels sleep, 
The spiders from their cobwebs creep. 

Last night the sun went pale to bed, 
The moon in halos hid her head ; 
The boding shepherd heaves a sigh, 
For see a rainbow spans the sky. 

The walls are damp, the ditches smell, 
Closed is the pink-eyed pimpernel ; 
Hark ! how the chairs and tables crack, 
Old Betty's joints are on the rack. 

Loud quack the ducks, the peacocks cry, . 
The distant hills are seeming nigh ; 
How restless are the snorting swine, 
The busy flies disturb the kine. 

Low o'er the grass the swallow wings, 
The cricket too, how loud it sings ; 
Puss on the hearth with velvet paws, 
Sits smoothing o'er her whiskered jaws. 

Through the clear stream the fishes rise, 
And nimbly catch the incautious flies ; 
The sheep are seen at early light, 
Cropping the meads with eager bite. 

Though June, the air is cold and chill, 
The mellow blackbird's voice is still ; 
The glow-worms, numerous and bright, 
Illumed the dewy dell last night. 

122 jummtt0 anto Crummta. 

At dusk the squalid toad was seen, 
Hopping and crawling o'er the green ; 
The frog has lost his yellow vest, 
And in a dingy suit is dressed. 

The leech disturbed is newly risen, 
Quite to the summit of his prison ; 
The whirling winds the dust obeys, 
And in the rapid eddies plays. 

My dog, so altered is his taste, 
Quits mutton bones, on grass to feast ; 
And see yon rooks, how odd their flight, 
They imitate the gliding kite, 

Or seem precipitate to fall, 
As if they felt the piercing ball. 
'Twill surely rain ! I see with sorrow, 
Our jaunt must be put off to-morrow. 

From an Almanac published 1844. 

Nummits and Crummits. 

Nummits and Crummits. 


A wee-bit and breakfast, 
A stay-bit and dinner, 
A nummit and a crummit, 
And a bit arter supper. 

Could our forbears ever have known the joys of 
hunger ? 

MEAL HOURS A.D. 1515. 

To rise at five and dine at nine, 
To sup at five and bed at nine, 
Will make a man live to ninety-nine. 

Our meal- hours and time of rising in the morning 
have considerably changed in the course of three 
centuries. As our ancestors rose at five they needed 
the " wee-bit " especially in the winter season. 
Persons of quality would sometimes dine as late as 
ten and supper was at five or six in the evening, and 
all the family were in bed at nine. They sounded the 
curfew, which warned them to put out their fires 
at six in the winter and between eight and nine in the 
evening during the summer time. 

126 jummit# auto Crummto. 


SERVANTS, when desirous of hoodwinking their mis- 
tresses or each other, resorted to a curious method of 

They added " us," or " vus " to every word. This 
jargon was styled cat-latin ; as 

" When vus thevus catvus isvus outvus, thevus, 
micevus allvus play vus." 

The above will give the reader some idea of this 
ridiculous custom. I am told that it has not quite 
died out in the far west even up to this date (1898). 


WHEN a child gets tired or a little out of temper, and 
the nurse wishes to amuse it, she dandles it on her 
knee, and sings 

Vather and mawther 
And uncle Jan, 
Went to Market 
Pin tap a black ram, 
Off val'd vather, 
Off val'd mawther, 
And away raw'd 

Uncle Jan ! ! 
All up ! all up ! all up ! 
Eat the fat ram 
And hang Uncle Jan ! 
All up ! all up ! all up ! 
Huraw for Uncle Jan ! 

auto Crummit& 127 


ONE day as a tourist was walking through this village 
he heard a man make the following announcement 
Thes es tii gie notice that down by tha say (sea) 
liveth a old dummun that zills glide zoura (vinegar) 
dree appince a nuggin, what Ciime* vokes liketh tii 
lappee kale wi'. 


If this should catch the eye 

Of any passer-by, 

Who should happen to be dry, 

I hope he'll not be shy, 

But just step in 

And wet his throttle, 

With prime ginger beer 

A penny a bottle. 

Picnics supplied with hot water and tea, 
At a nice little house down by the sea. 
Fresh crabs and lobsters every day, 
Salmon peel, sometimes red mullet and grey ; 
The neatest of pleasure-boats let out on hire, 
Fishing as good as you can desire. 

* Coomb folks like to eat with cabbage. " Kale " is the local 
name for cabbage. 

128 ^lummitg auto Crummitg. 

Bathing machines for ladies are kept, 
With towels and gowns all quite correct. 
Thomas is the man who supplies everything, 
And also teaches young people to swim. 


RECEIVED of Edward Salter the sum of four pounds 
ten shillings for goods received and chattels, a bay 
mare, and also Mrs. Smale, as parting man and wife. 
Agreed before witnesses, 
October lyth, 1810. 

Witness the mark of 

Edward Snow X 

James Worth X 

Mary Salter X 

Edward Salter X 
Settled the whole concern by the mark of 

John Smale X 

^"4 los. od. 


ON Thursday, May i5th, 1811, the buyer made appli- 
cation to the Plymouth magistrates, stating the 
circumstances of the case, and that John Smale 
wanted his wife back again, notwithstanding that he 
the said buyer liked her very much, and did not wish 
to part with her. 

The magistrates told him he had no legal claim to 

jummit# ana Crummitg. 129 

the woman, and advised him to give her up to her 
husband, to which he very reluctantly consented. 

In these good old times when a man grew tired of 
his wife, it was not an unfrequent practice to put a 
halter round her neck and offer her in the nearest 
market place for sale, she tamely submitting to the 
indignity. Possibly she was glad to obtain release 
from an unamiable spouse by such easy means. 

The reader will smile, and say : " Ah ! perhaps so," 
but such things do not happen in this more enlight- 
ened age. It seems that history repeats itself, as 
evidenced by the following story taken from the 
Western Morning News, March gth, 1894. 

As recently as September, 1873, tne following at- 
tempted sale of a woman took place in Devonshire. 

At - - a young woman, the wife of a man named 
Phillips, who was said to have left her and his credi- 
tors together, and gone to Australia, was the interest- 
ing article submitted at the sale of his goods and 
chattels to competition. The wife's conduct seems to 
have had a great deal to do with Phillips's dis- 
appearance. On Saturday, Phillips's goods were 
sold, and the wife claimed a portion of the pro- 
ceeds, and told the auctioneer he must either share 
the money with her or sell her. This seems to have 
called forth the sympathy of a bystander who volun- 
teered to take the role of auctioneer. A halter was 


auto Crummtt#. 

borrowed from a neighbour, and the woman was led 
into the market-place accompanied by a crowd of 
persons. No bidders, however, seemed to be amongst 
them, and the woman was obliged to be content. 
This disgraceful scene was witnessed by a very large 
number of spectators. 


Sent to Mr. Martin, the energetic secretary of the 
Devonian Club in London. 

Frithelstock Moor, 

Taddiport, Nath Debben, 

Febreer 28th, 1889. 
Zir Stafford and genelmen all, 

I pull'th my vorlock tii e ivvery wan ! I did 'ope 
I shiide abin able tii bin long w'e tii dinner tii-day. 
I'm blamed ef I bant that vext I can't tell what tii dii 
wi' m'zell, tii thenk that that canky-tempered old 
twoad ov a wive ov mine want let me come tii 
Linnun and a' a bit and a drap wi' yii chaps tii-day. 
Niver mind sose ! durned ef I want be upzides wi' 
she avore long. 'Er'll be wanting a fine new rory- 
tory gown avore the year be out, but by Gor ! 'er 
shall want. I'll be dalled ef 'er shall get wan though 
I've agot the dibs sure 'nough, but I'll stick tii they. 
Zee ef I dawnt. 

I wuz 'opping tii 'ave some figgetty pudden and 
lots more o' that zoart ov trade, a purty gude bust 
aw't altogether, but there tidden wan bit ov use tii 

jl2ummit# auto Crummit#. 131 

grizzlee ort more awver't, so I want say 'nuther word 
'bout et thease time. 

I ciide a-told-e a glide many zide cracking stories 
about wan and tother old Debbenshur vokes down 
theyse pearts ov the country, but if yii staps to rayde 
thease letter drii and drii 'evore yii begin'th tii ayte, 
yer mayte'll be cold, and yii'll be famished tii death, 
zo yii'd better putt'n aside till yii've a mapped up all 
they biitivul junkets I yer Mrs. Martin 'ave amade 
vor 'e. 

I mind'th piirty well Squire Nathkit's gramfer what 
used tii live tii Pynes, he waz Cappen ov the Yawmen 
Cathery. They varmer's zins what weared urd 
jackets and vound their awn 'osses. Well, when 
theyse sodgers was out tii practice down tii Exmouth, 
zome o'the stiipid twoads got tarnashun wopper-eyed 
and by gor ! ef they didden vail tii fighting. Jist then 
Cappen Nathkit corned along, and zaid, ses 'e 
" What be yii fellers adiiing ov ? Vighting be 'e ? 
Aw zes 'e, I'll tellee 'bout that then liikee zee yer 
yii baggering twoads, I'll be blamed if I'll 'ave any 
fighting men in my regiment git out o't, I tellee." 
That there's so true as the gospel, I tellee tez 
then ! 

Well, now yers another little dialogue. There was 
wan Varmer Short who'd got a purty big varm down 
'Aldon way. Now 'e and a few more was what I 
calls rigler guzzlers they was. I've yerd tell as 'ow 
vower aw'm cude drink out a hogshead of cider tii 

132 jpummto anli Ctummit& 

wan zitting and not veel no woss vor't arterwards. 
They was what vokes now-a-days cal proper busters 
they wuz. 

Then again there's thicky young ozeburd ov a 
squire up Topsham way, who stid'th hard how he 
can candiddle his ma, by gwaine ratting wi' all the 
griims and ramscallions of the parish, instayed of 
gwaine 'ome tii dinner and zitting up tii table clayne 
and tidy-like wi' the quality. Mayhap I'd better not 
zay nort more about he, cuz tidden vitty for the likes 
o' me tii zay ort agin my betters. 

Burn me ! if I ciidden tellee amazing sight ov't, all 
about the murchy of wan and tother o'm, but I mid 
hurt their veelings, zo I'll stap ! 

I be veeling cruel wisht, and zomething like a 
vinnied cheel, cuz I be afoced tii bide home while yii 
fellers be up there feysting away like cockfighters. 
Howzimever I 'opes yii'll val tii galyantly and 'ave a 
giide feed, but dawntee vor gracious sakes ayte too 
much of that payse zoup and tabbioka pudden, vur 
that trade'll upzit 'e. If they gives 'e flicker-mayte 
and squab pie yii'll like they, vor they'm biitival 
aytmg. Now they waiter-chaps be cute uns, they'll 
gie e giizeberry wine and tellee tez Madam Quicko's 
best shampain. Dawntee, now dawntee, drink too 
much o't, vor if so be yii dii 'tweel make 'e tosti- 
cated, and yii'll be so maze headed as a sheep, and 
bezides yii'll vail all about the rawds gwaine 'ome 
along, and spowl all they fine cloths. They'll be 

auto Crummto. 133 

cautched all awver, and all the brishing in the wordle 
wunt git the muck and pillum out o'um. 
So no more at prisint from your 

afecshunate zarvint, 



IN love's calendar there is a special gem or stone for 
each month in the year : and what true lover should 
be without this necessary information ? 

January is represented by the garnet constancy. 

February ,, amethyst sincerity. 

March ,, ,, bloodstone courage. 

April diamond innocense. 

May ,, ,, emerald success in love. 

June ,, ,, agate long life. 

July ,, chameleon contented mind. 

August ,, sardonyx married happiness. 

September ,, chrysolite clearness of intellect. 

October ,, opal fortunate. 

November ,, topaz fidelity. 

December ,, ,, turquoise prosperity. 


LET us zing to the praise and glawry of God this 
ves o' my awn composing : 

134 jRummit# auto 

Mount Edgecombe is a pleasant place, 
Right o'er agenst the Ham-o-aze, 
Where ships do lie at anchor, 
To guard us agin our foes. Amen. 

At the beginning of the present century the small 
boys of Chagford made the streets resound with 
shouts of this quaint old rhyme : 

Old Harry Trewin 
Had no burtches to wear, 
So he stawl a ram's skin 
Vur to make en a pair : 
Wi' the woolly zide out, 
And the fleshy zide in, 
They sticked purty tight 

To old Harry Trewin. 



Peculiar and Eccentric Devonians 

Peculiar and Eccentric Devonians. 


THIS clever unscrupulous woman was born of poor 
but respectable parents at Witheridge, North Devon, 
on November nth, 1792. Her father, Thomas 
Wllcocks, was a shoemaker. His daughter Mary, 
being of a wild disposition, objected to the restrictions 
of school life, hence she received little or no educa- 
tion, and at eight years of age was employed in spin- 
ning wool. The manufacture of woollen yarns was 
at this time the staple industry of the district. Ath- 
letics had a strong attraction for Mary, who, before 
she was eighteen years of age, excelled all the village 
youths in cricket, playing at bowls, swimming, and 
fishing. As a domestic servant she was invaluable, 
and this must be said to her credit, that whatever she 
undertook she did well and intelligently, giving undi- 
vided attention to the minutest details. From her 
sixteenth to twenty-second year she lived in service 
at Witheridge, Exeter, Taunton, and in the neigh- 
bourhood of London. Fond of finery she applied all 

138 jl^ummto anti Crummte. 

her wages to the purchase of smart attire, and when 
on a visit to her parents she made great display of it, 
to the disgust of her father who said, "'twadden vitty 
vor the likes o' she to be fettled up in such fal-lals 
and fantisheeny clothes." When he insisted that a 
certain smart white frock should be taken off, Mary 
refused to obey him, whereupon a quarrel arose 
which ended in her father taking the matter up in a 
furious temper, and beating her severely with a 
leathern strap. After this she decamped and was 
never seen again at Witheridge. While living with 
Mrs. Hillier, a fishmonger at Billingsgate, she met a 
man called Bakerstendt or Bickerstein, whom she is 
supposed to have married after only two months' 

Whether she was married to this foreigner, or 
whether he seduced and afterwards deserted her, has 
not been clearly ascertained. There is little doubt, 
but that it was from him, who had probably associa- 
ted with Malays or was acquainted with their lan- 
guage, that she picked up the Eastern words and 
idioms she used, as well as that knowledge of some 
Asiatic customs which so effectually enabled her to 
effect her imposition. 

A year after her marriage (?) we find her living at 
Bristol with Eleanor Josephs. At first she did not 
pretend to be a foreigner, until one day she dressed 
herself in a turban, and went into the streets shouting 
at the top of her voice an unknown lingo. This was 

3&*cuiiar auto (Eccentric SDetJoniam?* 139 

her first attempt to palm herself off as a stranger in a 
strange land. 

On Thursday evening, the 3rd of April, 1817, the 
overseer of the parish of Almondsbury, near Bristol, 
called at the residence of Mr. Samuel Warrall, a 
magistrate, to inform him that a young woman, 
speaking a foreign language, had entered a cottage in 
the village, and made signs that she wished to sleep 
under its roof. A manservant in the house knew 
several languages, therefore the woman was brought 
before him, but appeared not to understand a word he 
said. Her dress consisted of a black stuff gown, with 
a white muslin frill around the neck, a black cotton 
shawl fantastically arranged about her head, and a 
red checked shawl loosely and tastefully put on her 
shoulders in imitation of Asiatic costume. 

The general impression from her manners and per- 
son was attractive and prepossessing. In height 
about 5ft. 2in., she had a small head, low forehead, 
black hair and eyes, short nose, pink cheeks, wide 
mouth, white gleaming teeth, lips large and full, a 
small round chin, and an olive complexion. Her 
hands were well formed, and so white that one would 
suppose they were unaccustomed to labour. Age 
about twenty-five years. 

When offered food she covered her face with her 
hands, and appeared to repeat a prayer, bowing her 
head at the conclusion. 

Mrs. Warrall took compassion on her loneliness 

HO j^ummte ana Crummit#. 

and received her into her house as a guest. Upon 
being shewn books of travel, she intimated that the 
one descriptive of China was the country from which 
she came. Mrs. VVarrall began to have suspicions 
that the woman was an impostor, and talked very 
seriously to her, begging her to speak the truth of 
herself. She pretended not to understand a word, 
and addressed Mrs. Warrall in her own tongue. 
Mrs. Warrall wrote her name upon paper, pronounc- 
ing it several times as she placed it before her, hoping 
that the woman would reveal her own, which she did 
by crying out " Caraboo ! Caraboo ! " pointing to her- 

Upon some furniture being shewn to her, inlaid 
with Chinese figures, Caraboo made signs that they 
belonged to her country. She then drew the follow- 
ing chart of her voyage to Europe : 

peculiar and (Eccentric 2Debonian#. 141 

Her father's country was Congee (China), her 
mother's was Batavia, her own, Javasu, of which she 
was the princess. Hereafter she was known as 
Caraboo, or the Princess Javasu. For several months 
she lived this picturesque lie. One gentleman who 
had made several voyages to the East Indies took 
great interest in her, and in the warmth of his anxiety 
to discover her history probably assisted her to 
emphasise more distinctly the imposture on the good 
people of Bristol and Bath. 

She marked time by tying knots on a string in a 
peculiar manner, and by this means pointed out the 
periods and distances of her voyage. She said that 
in Congee they wrote with a camel's hair brush or 
pencil and Indian ink. Here are a few of the signs 
she employed, which are simply Arabic characters 
which she might have found among Beckerstein's 


r - 

142 ^lummit# auto Crummto. 

The gibberish language in which she made herself 
understood, was aided by gestures and animation of 
countenance which it is impossible to describe. It is 
singular that during her residence at Knowle, Bath, 
and Bristol she was never heard to pronounce a word 
of English. She had an astonishing command of 
countenance and complete self-possession. A gentle- 
man tried to move her by flattery : he drew his chair 
close to hers, looked steadily and smilingly in her 
face, and said : " You are the most beautiful creature 
I ever beheld. You are an angel." Not a muscle of 
her face moved, no blush suffused her cheek, and her 
countenance was a blank. 

The bubble, however, was on the eve of bursting. 
Dr. Wilkinson, of Bath, determined to probe the 
mystery, and after making exhaustive enquiries about 
her, of persons with whom she was known to have 
lodged previous to her arrival at Almondsbury, dis- 
covered that she was none other than the veritable 
daughter of Thomas Wilcocks, the Witheridge shoe- 

After this, the exposure of the deception practised 
on Mrs. Warrall was speedy and decisive. Mrs. 
Warrall went alone into a room with Caraboo, and 
told her of the damning proofs she had obtained of 
her being an impostor. She again tried in her gib- 
berish to interest her benevolent friend by saying, 
" Caraboo, Toddy Noddy," etc., but could not succeed. 
Hereupon she acknowledged the cheat and begged 

peculiar anti (Eccentric 2Diionian0. 143 

that her parents should not be sent for. This was 
promised on condition that she would make a clean 
breast of the whole imposture and give details of her 
former life, to which she readily acceded. 

A passage in the " Robert and Ann," under the 
care of Captain Robertson, was at once procured for 
her, and taking the name of Mrs. Mary Burgess, she 
sailed for, and lived many years at, Philadelphia. 

The day before leaving Bristol she wrote the fol- 
lowing letter to Mrs. Warrall, which shewed that 
Caraboo was not insensible of the great kindness and 
attention to her comfort and happiness which Mrs. 
Warrall unweariedly gave her. 

This is a verbatim copy : 

Friendship thou charmer of the mind thou 
sweet deluding ill the brightest moments mortals find 
and sharpest pains can feel fate has divided all our 
shares of pleasure and of pain in love the friendship 
and the cares are mixed and join again the same in- 
genious author in another place says tis dangerous to 
let loose our love between the eternal fair for pride 
that busy sin spoils all that we perform. 


After several years residence in America she re- 
turned to England, and settled at Bristol, about the 
year 1849, where she and her daughter earned a pre- 
carious living by selling and applying leeches, still 

jl*lummit# anli Crummitg. 

retaining the assumed name of Mary Burgess, alias 
Baker. She died at Bristol in 1864. 

A vocabulary of a few words with their meanings 
made use of by Caraboo : 

Alia Tulla 












Ake Brasidoo 

Ake Dosi 

Ake Sacco 























Come to breakfast 

Come to dinner 

Come to supper 




To swim 

A man 

A woman 

An orange 




peculiar anti (Eccentric 2D&0nian& 145 

Suso Sugar 

Smachi Cayenne 

Tamah Fowl 

Rampue Pigeon 


THE two following Jeu d'esprits appeared during the 
period when this imposture formed the topic of 
general conversation at Bath and Bristol. 

Oh Molly, what a wag thou art 
So effectually to play the part 
Of wandering, friendless Caraboo, 
Bespeaks a talent few could boast 
Even from juggling India's coast 
But prythee tell me can it all be true ? 

If thou when heathen Greek inditing, 
Didst rival Rapier in his writing 
(So versatile thy nature, 
And sweetly plastic every limb) 
Like Roland fence, like Dolphin swim, 
Thou art indeed an interesting creature. 

Wert thou with all the men so shy, 

As ev'n thy beauteous hand deny 

In common salutation ? 

Was there no tender tete-a-tete, 

Thy admirers thus to fascinate, 

Who puffed thy beauty through the nation ? 

146 jl2ummit0 ant* Crummte. 

Thy sloe-black eyes, and teeth so white, 
(By Nature formed to charm or bite ?) 
With lady-airs in plenty 
Like opiates all the senses lull'd, 
Of reason and of vision gulled, 
Th' all -knowing Cognoscenti. 

When to the house-top prone to stray, 
And would'st to Alla-Tullah pray, 
Had'st thou no high priest near thee ? 
1 mean not that imperious sun 
Of reckless Juggernaut ; but one 
Well pleased to assist, and hear thee ? 

But where did'st learn (for Heaven's sake) 
To swim or dive, like duck or drake 
When water-dogs pursue ? 
And when for pure ablution quipp'd, 
Lurk'd there (as when Godiva stripped) 
No peeping Tom or wanton Makratoo ? 

Plague on that meddling tell-tale Neale, 
Eager thy history to reveal, 
And mar the pleasing fable : 
Too sudden came the denouement 
Which proved thou art from down-along, 
Where dumplings grace each table. 

" Drat her pug-nose, and treacherous eyes, 
Deceitful wretch ; " the doctor cries, 
(No more inclined to flattery) 
" When next I meet her (spite of groans) 
I'll rive her muscles, split her bones 
With my galvanic battery." 

peculiar auto (Ecmttric 2D*ti0man& 147 

But heed him not for on my soul 
Whether at Bristol, Bath or Knole, 
I admired thy Caraboo. 
Such self-possession at command, 
The by-play great the illusion grand : 
In truth 'twas everything but true. 

Then Molly take a friend's advice 
(To make thy fortune in a trice), 
All wand'ring gypsy tricks resign 
Fly to thy proper forte the stage : 
Where thou in this half mimic age 
Princess of actors would'st unrivall'd shine. 

From the Bristol Mirror, June 2ist, 1817. 

THE following squib was circulated after the ex- 
posure of this arch-impostor's deceptions, throughout 
Devon and Somerset. 


OH ! young Caraboo is come out of the west, 
In Frenchified tatters the damsel is dressed 
And, save one pair of worsted, she stockings had none, 
She tramped half unshod, and she walked all alone : 
But how to bamboozle the doxy well knew ; 
You ne'er heard of gipsy like young Caraboo. 
She staid not for river, she stopt not for stone, 
She swam in the Avon where ford there was none : 

But when she alighted at W gate, 

The dame and the doctor received her in state. 

No longer a gipsy, the club of bas-bleu 

To a princess converted the young Caraboo. 

148 j^ummto anti Crummit#. 

So boldly she entered the W hall, 

Amongst linguists, skull-feelers, bluestockings and all. 
Sure never a hall such a galliard did grace, 
When she fenced with the doctor, so queer her grim- 
But her host seemed to fret though the doctor did 


Should any to question her titles presume. 
And 'twas currently whispered the best they could do, 
Was to send up to London the young Caraboo. 

The hint was enough ; as it dropt on her ear 
It ruined her hopes ; it awakened her fear. 
So swift to the quay the fair damsel she ran ; 
" Oh ! take me, dear captain, away if you can." 
She's aboard they are off; " Farewell, Dr. Rampoo, 
They'll have swift ships that follow," quoth young 

There was bustling 'mong dames of the W 


The blue-stocking junto they rode and they ran, 
There was racing and chasing from Bath to the sea, 
But the bright Queen of Javasoo ne'er could they see, 
What a hoax on the doctor and club of bas-bleu, 
Did you e'er hear of gipsy like young Caraboo ? 

Then spake the sage doctor, profoundly absurd, 
While the sly Caraboo answered never a word : 
" Art thou sprung from the moon, or from far Javasoo, 
Or a mermaid just landed, thou bright Caraboo ? " 

at anli (Eccentric aD*fconian0. 149 

To these questions sagacious she answer denied, 

Though hard was her struggle the laughter to hide, 

But since they decree me these titles so fine 

I'll be silent, eat curry, and taste not their wine ; 

With this imposition I've nothing to do, 

These are fools ready made, said the young Caraboo. 

She looked at a pigeon the dame caught it up ; 
Caraboo had a mind on a pigeon to sup ; 
She looked down to titter she looked up so sly 
With the bird in her hand, and the spit in her eye : 
She dressed it she ate it she called it Rampoo. 
This proves, swore the doctor, she's Queen Caraboo. 

H. C. S. 

Notes and Queries, June 3rd, 1865. 


The King of the Gipsies. 

BAMPFYLDE-MOORE CAREW was the son of the Rev. 
Theodore Carew, rector of Bickleigh, Tiverton, 
Devon. Born, July i2th, 1690. At the age of 
twelve he was entered as a pupil at Old Blundell's 
School, Tiverton, where he formed the acquaintance 
of the sons of the best families in the county. At 
first he gave close application to study, and bid fair to 
make his mark in the world. His father had every 
reason to hope that at some future time he would 
succeed to the family living of St. Mary, Bickleigh. 
Blundell's scholars at this period possessed a fine 

iso ^ummte anti Crummitg, 

pack of fox-hounds, and Carew took frequent oppor- 
tunities to indulge in sport at the expense of his 
studies. Besides strength of body and vigour of 
mind he possessed agility of limb, and a voice of such 
depth of sound that he could give the loudest halloo 
to the hounds of any man of his day. Dogs were 
attracted to him in a marvellous fashion, and in after 
years this mutual sympathy proved disastrous to our 
hero, who on this account suffered imprisonment 
several times. 

It happened one day that a farmer coming to 
Tiverton market saw Carew standing at the school 
gateway, and knowing the latter's fondness for sport, 
acquainted him with the fact that a deer, with a collar 
around his neck, was harbouring in a field on Exeter 
Hill ; whereupon Carew, Martin, Escott, Coleman, 
and a crowd of other Blundellians started to hunt it. 
This happened just before corn-harvest. The chase 
was hot and lasted several hours ; they ran the deer 
many miles across fields of ripening grain, doing great 
damage. The deer proved to be a tame one, the pro- 
perty of Col. Nutcombe, of Clayhanger. Persons 
who sustained damage to their corn, complained to 
the headmaster of the havoc made. The culprits 
were so severely threatened that several absconded, 
Carew being one of the number. They made for 
a small wayside inn at Brickhouse, on the Bampton 
road, situated about a half-a-mile from the town. Here 
they fell in with a party of gipsies and remained in 

anti (Eccmttic 2Defconian0. 151 

their company the whole night, engaging in the 
wildest orgies. In the morning they were admitted 
as Romany members, each taking the necessary oaths 
and going through the requisite ceremonies. 

It may be interesting to the reader to know that a re- 
cruit goes through various rites and takes certain oaths 
before being admitted a member of the fraternity. 

A new name must be assumed, after which he takes 
the following oaths 

I, Bampfylde-Moore-Carew (or as the case may be), 
do swear to be a true brother; to obey the commands 
of the tawny prince ; to keep his counsel ; not to 
divulge the secrets of the brotherhood ; will never 
leave the company ; and observe and keep all times 
of appointment by night or by day, in every place 

I will not teach anyone to cant, nor will I disclose 
our mysteries to them. 

I will take my prince's part against all that shall 
oppose him or any of us. 

I will not suffer him, or any of us, to be abused by 
strangers, but will defend him or them to the death. 

I will not conceal aught I win out of private houses 
or elsewhere, but will give it for the benefit and use 
of all the company, &c. 

Carew was an actor of the highest type, as is 
evidenced by the numberless opportunities he em- 
braced to personate the leading men of the neigh- 
bourhood in which he found himself. By assuming 

152 jummit# anli Crummitg. 

the garb of a. peasant, a beggar, an old woman, a 
soldier in distress, a maimed sailor, or whatever guise 
his fertile fancy dictated, he successfully deceived 
even his nearest relatives and wrung from them 
entertainment, gifts of money, clothes and any com- 
modity he demanded. 

On the death of Claude Patch, the king of the 
gipsies, Carew was, by a large majority of the brother- 
hood, elected his successor. He at once took up the 
government, but ran his kingly power on totally 
different lines from the former sovereign. Instead of 
living in idleness and luxury, depending on the mem- 
bers of the tribe for support, he started off on a round 
of adventure. 

The knavish tricks and deceptions he successfully 
practised on his nearest relations and most intimate 
friends would be too numerous to chronicle in these 
pages. A Life of Bampfylde-Moore Carew, can, I 
think, be obtained at any bookseller's, and to lovers of 
humorous incidents would prove amusing. 

Carew married about the year 1720, a Miss Gray, 
daughter of an apothecary, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, at 

They had one daughter who married a West- 
country squire, by whom she had a numerous family 
of promising children. 

After a life of beggary, adventure, and imprisonment, 
Carew returned to his birthplace at Bickleigh, where 
he resided two years previous to his death in 1758. 

peculiar anfc (Eccentric 2D*ti0man0. 153 


JOANNA, daughter of William and Hannah Southcott, 
was born on April loth, 1750, at Gittisham, Devon- 
shire. Her father, a farm labourer, honest and hard- 
working, could give Joanna no better education than 
was to be had at the village dame's school : here she 
read the Bible with much attention and committed to 
memory as much as possible. In after life, during 
her " preaching days," she was thus enabled to apply 
texts of scripture to prove the truth of her doctrines. 

Few persons have excited so much curiosity, or 
obtained more notoriety than Joanna Southcott. She 
aspired to be the mother of a second Messiah, going 
so far as to predict the date on which he should be born. 

She affirmed that the " angels rejoiced at her birth," 
in consequence of which it was her duty to turn her 
mind to religious subjects and to preach redemption 
to every soul. In 1790, she was employed as a work- 
woman in the shop of an upholsterer in Exeter. The 
master being a Methodist, many persons of that per- 
suasion visited him : with these people Joanna easily 
ingratiated herself, and was by them held in great 
esteem. Under such conditions she began to ex- 
pound her religious views and would enter into con- 
troversy with ministers, who were amongst the guests 
of her employer, taking upon herself the role of reli- 
gious dictator. By declaring that she had visions of 
an extraordinary character she added to her import- 
ance, as she was supposed to be inspired beyond a 
common degree of human nature. 

J 54 ^ummto anli Crummitg. 

Considering herself " called of God," she deter- 
mined to take up the ministry as her future vocation. 
In 1792, she began her declarations, that, " the Lord 
had visited her and entered into a sacred covenant, 
the conditions of which He would reveal to her alone 
in a vision." 

To such a depraved state had she arrived, that she 
blasphemously declared that God appeared to her, 
not in " the beauty of Holiness," not in " the Majesty 
of His Power," not in " the Greatness of His Mercy," 
but sometimes in the shape of a cat ; and once as a 
" cup," which she kicked to pieces. 

After these mad assertions she called together a 
meeting of her followers, that these wonderful delu- 
sions might be discussed and explained. The whole 
assembly witnessed the following document : 

I, Joanna Southcott, am clearly convinced that my 
calling is of God, and my writings are indited by his 
spirit ; it is impossible for any spirit but an all-wise 
God that is wonderous in working, wonderous in wis- 
dom, wonderous in power, wonderous in truth, could 
have brought round such mysteries so full of truth, 
as is in my writings : so I am clear in whom I have 
believed, that all my writings come from the spirit of 
the most High God. 


Signed in the presence of fifty-eight persons 
(including Methodist preachers) who assen- 
ted to the truth of the statement. 

anti (Eccentric SDebomang. 155 

Joanna, in 1792, assumed the titles of "The Bride;" 
" The Lamb's Wife ; " " The Woman clothed with the 
Sun ; " and intimated that in process of time she 
would become the mother of Shiloh, the second 
Messiah ! ! 

From this time innumerable converts attached 
themselves to her, each of whom contributed to the 
ways and means, making Joanna's finances ample for 
a luxurious mode of life. 

One day, while sweeping out her employer's shop 
in Exeter, she found a seal with J. S. engraved upon 
it ; this she annexed, and hundreds of its impressions 
in wax were sold and worn as charms by her devotees. 
These " beatitudes" were purchasable at from twelve 
shillings to a guinea each. 

The Joanna Southcottians swore never to shave 
until Shiloh came, and in consequence their beards 
grew to an enormous length. They were known as 
" The Bearded Men," and were a terror to children. 

Mrs. Sabatier of Exeter, was so shocked at Joanna's 
strange errors and blasphemies that she addressed a 
letter to her, in the hope of leading her to see the 
folly and wickedness of her teaching. She requested 
replies to the following questions. 

i st. Does the voice reveal things, or enforce doc- 
trines such as could not possibly have been dis- 
covered without the aid of this new revelation ? 

2nd. Are all these things utterly free from error 
or contradiction ? 

156 jummit# auto Crummto. 

3rd. Are they of general importance and evident 
utility ? 

4th. Have any events followed these predictions 
that lay beyond the reach of human forecast ? 

To these queries Joanna sent an incoherent reply : 
her letter will give a fair idea of the mental capacity 
of the writer, as well as a pretty accurate idea of the 
woman's religious teaching. 

EXETER, June zoth, 1799. 

I shall answer your faithful letter with That 
Sincerity it deserves. I am a Constant member of 
the Church of England, but the Cruel usage I have 
met with from the Arch Deacon Moor, and some 
other Ministers made me not frequent St. Peter's. 1 
have written to them Several letters, of the Greatest 
Blasphemy, that ever was wrote, if it was not, of God, 
for which they never reproved me neither would they 
here Me, to Know on what Grounds I had for my 
faith or fears. Now to your enquiries. The wind 
bloweth were it listeth, ye here the Sound thereof, 
but cannot tell from wence it cometh, or wither it 
goeth. So is every one born of the Spirit. Your 
first enquiry I answer possitively, it is impossible 
for Man by learning to find out what has been 
revealed to Me by the Spirit of inspiration con- 
cerning the Mistrys of the Bible. Your Second en- 
quiry I answer. It is all to one purpose, what God 
designed at first, it is explained to Me, he will accom- 

peculiar anti (Eccentric jDrtoman*. 157 

plish at last. Now cometh the fullfillment of the 
Gentiles, and the calling of the Jews, by the fullfill- 
ment of the Revelations, will the Jews be called 
Chaptr 12, 19, and the last. Thirdly, they are of 
general importance to all Mankind, they for the Con- 
decension of the Lord to explain why he has done all 
things is explained to Me. Fourthly, I answer to the 
events that has followed. In 1792 I was fore told 
what was coming upon the whole earth, perfect As I 
then wrote, it has followed in this Nation and others, 
and they, for the End is not yet. Another thing. I 
am told what is in the Hearts and thoughts of Men 
Concerning Me. And how Ministers would act be- 
fore I send them a letter. In 1792 I wrote of the 
Dearth of Provisions, the Distresses, of the Nations, 
and the War with France and Spain, it is too tedious 
mention all the particulars. I put in the hand of the 
Revd. Mr. Pumroy, in the begininng of 1797, what 
would happen in Italy, and perfect as it has happened, 
in England ever since. I may say no great event has 
happened, but what I am told of it before, and what is 
to happen before Christ peaceable Kingdom is estab- 
lished. I am at a Losst to account for the words saying 
others write for me. Do you mean I cannot write at 
All ? All my writings are in my own hand, but when I 
send to Ministers, I have some one to copy them out 
for Me, as I cannot Write a fair hand for others to 
read. I believe I have answered most of your en- 
quiry s as far as a Letter will permit, if you think 

158 $lummit# auto Ctummto. 

proper to make known yourself, I am willing to lay 
every truth before you, and how these things came to 
me at first. 

I am yonr sincere Friend, 


P.S. Please direct at Mr. Taylor's Cabinet Maker 

As late as 1860 a few of her disciples were living at 
Exmouth, Sidmouth, Sidbury, Sidford, and Exeter, 
each expecting Joanna's return to life and the fulfil- 
ment of her expectations. 

On Monday, December 2oth, 1814, Joanna died in 
London. A post mortem examination proved that a 
tumour was the cause of death. A prophecy of hers 
published in 1792, declared that the mother of Shiloh, 
previous to his birth, would be as one dead for four 
days, and at the end of that period would revive and 
the babe would be born. 

In the Yorkshire Weekly Post, for November igth, 
1898, I read the following paragraph, which seems to 
me to be an interesting link with the past. 

" An elderly man who calls himself ' Judge Milton,' 
and ' The Promised Shiloh,' has again made his ap- 
pearance in the Wakefield district. The old man 
contends that he is entitled to house property near 
East Ardsley, built by the late Prophet, John Wroe, 
a leader of the followers of Joanna Southcott." 

Perhaps the following may be interesting, as shew- 
ing specimen of the Hymns used at Joanna's Meetings. 

iar auto (Eccentric 2D*bonian& 159 

I have said already, thou shalt have a son, 
Ere he can speak, all this shall sure be done, 
Great peace in England after this shall be 
Because the remnant shall believe in me, &c. 

The woman clothed with sun, 
Should make all nations quake, 
For now the mystery I'll explain, 
The Revelation break. 

It is the Son that shall be born, 
Fatal to those that do him scorn ; 
Because that I'll uphold his land, 
That doth depise the Infant's birth. 

Collected from Notes and Gleanings, Exeter, 
1892, and Memoirs of Religious Impostors, 
by Dr. M. Ackin, LL.D., London, 1821, 
and other sources. 

ALTHOUGH much has already been written about the 
North Devon Savages, a short though painful narra- 
tive of their habits and manners may not be uninter- 

The Cheriton family, fifty years ago, resided in the 
parish of Nymet Rowland, a hamlet sixteen miles 
from Exeter, situated in the very centre of the most 
picturesque part of our fair county. 

The Doones mentioned by Mr. R. D. Blackmore, 
in Lorna Doone, had no connection whatever with 

160 ^ummit0 anli Crummta, 

Devonshire, nor were the Gubbings, of whom Mr. 
Baring-Gould writes, in any way connected with the 
Cheritons, who owned a small freehold farm, valued 
at about ^"1500, which had been their inheritance for 
a great many years. 

In the early days of their possession they were re- 
spectable, hardworking yeomen, living on and culti- 
vating their estate to advantage. Then a son married 
badly, and the children of this union grew up idle 
and dissolute, consequently the farm was neglected 
and in a short time it fell into a low state of cultiva- 
tion. Each successive generation sank lower in the 
social scale till a condition insensible to shame was 

The family lived in a most disreputable way. 
Their language was, as Tickler in his Devonshire 
Sketches, says, " too horribly foul for repetition : they 
poured forth copious streams of the dirtiest and most 
obscene words conceivable." 

A correspondent, who when a young man lived in 
the neighbourhood, tells me that no one could beat 
them at rough language, horseplay, and filthy dis- 
course. They were a disgrace to the neighbourhood 
and a nuisance to their neighbours. One day, when 
passing the house, he was accosted by a woman of 
the tribe, who called him disgusting names, pelted 
him N with mud and stones, performed indescribable 
offensive acts, and finally chased him brandishing a 
hay fork, with which she would have undoubtedly 

peculiar anti (Eccentric 2Deti0man& 161 

assaulted him had he not beaten a hasty retreat. 

The fame of these people spread through and be- 
yond the county. Many inquisitive persons went to 
Nymet Rowland to get a peep at the " Savages." 
One man, more curious than the general public, ap- 
proached too near the house, and was at once pounced 
upon by a couple of Amazons, who demanded a 
reason for his visit. " Ladies," said he " I have lost 
my way, will you be so good as to put me on the 
right road to Dartmoor ? " " Aw, ess, tii be sure, 
replied Miss Cheriton, " come thease yer way an' I'll 

She took him into the adjoining yard for the osten- 
sible purpose of directing him, and the unsuspecting 
wayfarer, venturing too near the edge of the horse 
pond in following his guide, was suddenly thrust into 
the filthy liquid, as a " There, thicky's the way tii 
Dartymoor and be tii you," fell on his ears. 

The farmhouse and outbuildings were originally 
trim and well kept, but had been gradually allowed 
to reach the last stage of dilapidation. The thatch 
was stripped from the rafters, and the rooms below 
received all the rain which fell, the wind played havoc 
with, and carried away every scrap it could dislodge. 
The windows had long been denuded of glass, and in 
winter were stuffed with bundles of hay or straw to 
protect the inmates from the severity of the weather ; 
the air had free passage from basement to roof. A 
person standing in what was at one time the kitchen, 


162 /Elummto anti Ctummitg. 

could see the clouds passing and the birds flying 
above the roof. The doors were nowhere. The 
living room was almost destitute of furniture, and in 
place of seats a hole had been dug in the lime-ash- 
floor in front of the fireplace, which was on the 
hearth. Into this hole the legs of the members of the 
family rested as they sat on the bare floor around the 

In this hovel resided as many Cheritons, men, 
women, and children, as could find resting-places; the 
surplus members of the family found shelter and 
repose in holes cut into hayricks and woodstacks. 

The patriarch of the tribe, Christopher Cheriton, 
slept at night, and reclined during the greater part of 
the day in solitary state, within the friendly shelter of 
a cider cask well bedded up with hay and dried ferns. 
A more primitive state of things could not possibly 
be found anywhere. 

Their land being freehold no one dared interfere 
with the family so long as they kept upon their own 
ground. Many strong efforts were made to clear 
them out of their holding but without success, and 
for many years these disgraceful conditions continued. 

Over their social life one would wish to draw a 
curtain, for they regarded not the holy rites prescribed 
by the Church, nor the authority of bishops, arch- 
deacons, or civil laws. They had all things in com- 
mon, and multiplied into a large family without 
marriage. Their conduct, habits, manners, and Ian- 

peculiar an& (Eccentric 2D*fc0man0. 163 

guage, made them a terror and a nuisance to their 
immediate neighbours. Their misdeeds were the 
cause of their making frequent appearances before 
the magistrates in the local police courts. The sur- 
rounding farmers, after a time forbore to summon 
them as their ricks, stacks, barns, and homesteads 
were fired. By whom ? None could tell, though 
pretty shrewd guesses were levelled at the Cheritons. 

Their larder was at all seasons well filled. Game 
and every portable kind of dairy and farm produce 
found a way to it, brought thither by the sons, who 
were noted poachers and purloiners of other men's be- 

They baked three kinds of bread, namely, black or 
barley bread for the men servants, whole wheaten 
meal bread for the family, and white bread for the 

The only persons who dared venture to visit them 
with impunity, were Lady Portsmouth and the Revd. 
and Mrs. Gutteries. This was in 1870-3. 

A former rector of this parish, a tall robust man, 
standing six foot, two inches, in his stockings, when- 
ever he passed the premises was assailed with 
showers of stones and inexpressibly revolting abuse. 

The property has long ago changed owners, and of 
the fate of the Cheritons very little is known. The 
old folks are dead, and the younger ones have emi- 
grated or married, thus breaking up a family notor- 
ious for evil in all its forms. 




HERE are a few stories which have been told me by 
old persons in various parts of the county. Some 
are extracted from newspaper reports, and for per- 
mission to use them I am indebted to the kindness of 
the editors of the Tiverton Gazette, the Devon and 
Exeter Gazette, the Western Morning News, the 
North Devon Herald, and the Yorkshire Weekly Post. 

The exucutors of the late Mr. Elias Tozer (better 
known as " Tickler," author of Rambles on Dart- 
moor) have allowed me to glean from his pages. To 
very many generous private correspondents too, I am 
under great obligations for the large amount of infor- 
mation, and many singular narratives which they 
have voluntarily sent me. 

One or two trifling incidents are recorded from per- 
sonal observation. 

I think in themselves they give one a clear insight 
to the quaint characteristics, the modes of thought, 
and bent of imagination of our rustic friends. 

With few exceptions Devonians are free-spirited, 
shrewd, genial, daring, laughter-loving and kindly. 

168 ummtttf auto Crummit#. 

They are ever ready to believe in the supernatural, 
and repeat (sometimes, I fear, exaggerate) their own 
ghostly experiences. 

An old man living in South Devon, once told me 
that as he was one night returning from Starcross to 
a farm about two miles off, as he passed Easton 
Wood he had " zeed the devil hiszel azitting pon tap 
o' a gaet-pawst. Th' eyes aw'n was like two gert 
glazing tay sassers, and I urned fit to break my neck 
till I got purty vur from he," he said. 

A day or two after this, I met the old man's son of 
whom I enquired for his father. 

" Aw' mum," said he, " 'e idden vitty 'et, a'n't agot 
awver th' fright he got tuther night. He zeth 'e 
zeed th' evil wan, up in Easton Wood, wi eyes 
blazing like a bull's-eye- lantern. He hissed and tissed 
to 'n. There was hundreds of little devils dancing all 
about in th' blue hell-flames. Poor old father was 
that scared that 'e cant tell a 'awk from a 'andsaw 
(heronshaw). Poor old father, 'e es in a brave fizz 

" Yes," I replied, " don't you think if you could 
persuade him to pass by ' The Ship,' at Cockwood, 
instead of going in, he would see less of the old one ? " 

" Ess 'm, mayhap 'e widden zee th' dowl again if 
he stapped gwaine there." 

One sees by this, how very different the son's tale 
was from the father's. The whole thing was wonder- 
fully elaborated, and there is no doubt as it journeyed 


through the taprooms of Cockwood, Starcross, and 
Dawlish, it still farther grew in hideousness of detail. 

The marvellous tales of supernatural visitations, 
death omens, apparitions, charms for healing the sick 
and the bewitched, with cursings and blessings, would 
fill many volumes. I can only furnish a few examples 
and hope they may prove interesting to the reader. 

One dear old country woman, who was never tired 
of telling me all the witch lore she could collect, one 
day, said, " Ave I askeed ee missus by telling ee 
thease yer discoose ? If zo be I've a gallied ee, I be 
main put about, but whot I dii tell 'e is true. Ess 
fy tez ! Ess by gor missus ! Ess fy !" 


April, 1872. 

DR. recently held a visitation at Torrington, 

North Devon, and while his carriage was being har- 
nessed for the return journey to Barnstaple, intimated 
that he would walk on. The bishop took the old 
hilly road, which is now but little used, and the 
coachman, unaware of this fact, drove off, via Bick- 
ford, quite in another direction. For five miles his 
lordship trudged on, and becoming fatigued, and see- 
ing no sign of carriage, on arriving at Newton Tracey 
he asked a respectable publican and farmer there to 
give him a lift. Boniface had a cart, but the cart 
was unlicensed, and he pleaded this objection against 
complying with Dr. 's wish. But the bishop 

1 70 jpummto anli Crummttg. 

was equal to the emergency ; he was desirous to pro- 
ceed, and would pay the cost of a license. This 
anxiety aroused the publican's suspicions, who re- 
joined that if his visitor " would zit down and take a 
drap ov zummut 'e wid go tii Barum and get a 
lishens." But for this preliminary the bishop could 
not wait and urged his host to harness his cart at 
once, and take out a license on reaching Barnstaple. 
More convinced than ever of the character and occu- 
pation of the pedestrian, Boniface broke out, empha- 
sizing his denunciations with strong expletives. " I 
knaw thee. Thee art wan ov they supervisor fellers 
that be alwes agwaine about the country, a-trying tii 
trap poar men awver their lishenses and their carts." 
The astonished prelate mildly endeavoured to assuage 
the wrath of the irate publican, by the statement that 

he was the Bishop of Exeter. " Tez a d lie and 

nothing of the zort," retorted the other, " yii want tii 
trick me, zames yii did my neighbour tother day. 
Why, Bill Smith was armed five pound and yii 
wan'th tii git me intii the zame box, but I'm burned 
if yii dii." So the bishop had again to sally forth, 
until he was picked up about four miles from his 
destination by the carriage, which had meanwhile 
been sent out in quest of him from Barnstaple. The 
publican chuckled over his own cuteness in doing the 
supervisor, and to a friend who called a few days 
later, he narrated the incident with great glee. " I 
knawed," said he, " who the chap was ! He was 


a-dressed up like a zort of genelman varmer with a 
pair of black gaiters and breeches, and a rummy zort 
of a hat 'pon his head ; but he didden git awver me, 
I cude zee by the twinkle of his eye he was wan of 
they excise chaps and he wanted to zar me zames he 
did Bill Smith. He, poor blid, was fined five pound 
tuther day for just a-taking his missus who'd been bad 
for just a little bit of a turn round a bit." Shortly 
after, Boniface learnt the true state of the case, when 
he said, " Bless my sawl, what a fiile I've abin, may- 
hap if I'd diied what his lordship axed me, he mid 
a-made me Dean of the Katheydral ! " 

Slightly altered from report in the Tiverton Gazette. 


BEFORE a West-country bench, Samuel Scrane was 
charged with stealing fowls from Mr. Grose, geese 
from Mr. Lambshead, ducks from Mr. Vellacott, and 
pigeons from Mr. Cobbledick. 

Prosecutors proved missing the poultry, and 
Lambshead positively identified his grey goose. 

The following amusing statements were made in 
Lambshead : Yer 'onour I ciide swear tii my dear old 

grey giize. 

Magistrates' Clerk : How could you do that ? 
Lambshead : Cuz if I cal'th she, her'll knaw my 

voice and answer me back. 

anto Crummtt& 

Magistrates' Clerk : By what name do you call her ? 

Lambshead : Why, zir, her rayle name is Sarah, but 
zometimes us cal'th 'er Sallie; her knaweth 
uther wan of her names, and cometh when her's 
called, like a dog wid. 

Magistrates' Clerk : Did you call her ? 

Lambshead : Cal 'er ? Ess, I did, and 'er knawed 
me direckly. And 'er answered me back wi'a 
zoart of a tissy. That's 'er language you must 
knaw. Why 'er spoak so natteral as a curschin 
wid that's zo var's 'er ciide. 

Magistrates' Clerk : Tell us more about it, Mr. 
Lambshead, exactly what you did and what 
Sarah did. We find this most interesting. 

Lambshead : W T ell, sir, I went to Scrane's 'ouze and 
when I corned there Scrane's wife zed to me, 
zed she, " Well, Lambshead, what's want yer ? " 
"Well," zed I, "I wants my giize, Sallie." 
" Well, than," zed she, " 'er bant yer. I ant a 
zeed nort o' thee old giize Sally, and be damned 
tii ee." " Well, zed I, yii mid be civil I zim, 
and dawnt use noan o' yer cussing tii me, ver I'll 

be d d if I'll stand cussing and thieving intii 

the bargain. Zo, I jist made so bold as to walk 
strite drii th' ouze intii backouze, and there, I 
zeed amazing sight of poultry, and ruckied down 
in the far cornder was my poor old Sally, liiking 
so wisht as Simon Fluke's owl. The very minute 
'er zeed me up er jumped and hissed and tissed 


fit tii bust 'erzel with joy. So I zed, " Sallie, 
Sallie, m' dear, be that yii ? Then 'er flied slap 
acrass the 'eads of all the rest of the ducks and 
vowls that was there, and corned and crawped 
down by my veet like a dog wid. I cudden 'elp 
crying, I cudden, so I tiiked her up in my arms 
and was gwaine tii car 'er away with me when 
Scrane's wife corned and hailed her away from 
me and scat 'er vore intti the yard. Well, I 
urned arter 'er and cald tii 'er : Sallie, Sallie, 
Sallie, come yer my purty ! and 'er rinned and 
flapped 'er wings tii me in a minute, 'er did, and 
I walked strite away out tii the gate and old 
Sallie arter me atissing and drawing abroad her 
wings fit to bust 'erzel, I tellee ! 

Magistrates' Clerk : This seems far too ridiculous, for 
belief. Did any one witness the mutual recog- 
nition between you and the goose. 

Lambshead : Whativer be telling about, sir ? You 
spayketh so fine there's no understanding aw'ee, 
but I spose you be axing, who 'twas zeed my 
giize, Sallie, recognise me ? Why then, when I 
went to Scrane's 'ouze, Billy Chubb and Nick 
Stradles went with me and they both aw'm zeed 
Sallie rin tii me. 

Magistrates' Clerk : Did you, Chubb, see the goose 
when she recognised Lambshead ? 

Billy Chub : Ess, by Gor, I did, and twas a sight for 
sore eyes, I kin tellee, for when thickee old gen- 

174 ^flummto anti Crummit#. 

nelman went vore and caled she, 'er urned tii 'n 
a hissing and a tissing as if twas 'er father. 
When us liiked into the back-ouze nobody 
ciide tell wan giize from 'tother, but the very in- 
stant 'er master spoke, 'er up and urned tu'h and 
rubbed 'er 'ead agin his legs so loving as a cheel. 
Mr. Lambshead mutched 'er down awver 'er 
head and neck and 'er was so plaized as punch, 
'er was. 

Lambshead : There now, zir, didden I tellee so ? 'tez 
so true as the Gospel, tez ; I've ah'ad she for 
purty nigh ten year and I widden take ten pound 
for 'er. Why, my old 'oman lov'th 'er so well's 
'er dii inny of our chillern. I mayns tii take 'er 
'ome wi' me and keep 'er so long's 'er liv'th, ess 
fy ! Er'll sit in the chimbly cornder warm and 

Magistrates' Clerk : I wish to see this goose. 

Lambshead : I'll fetch 'er vore, sir. 

Hereupon the goose was produced and placed in a 
far corner of the Court. When Lambshead called 
Sallie, Sallie, she rushed towards him clearing every 
impediment. Whereupon Scrane was convicted of 
the theft, and Lambshead left the Court with Sallie 
comfortably tucked under his arm. 

Somewhat modified from report in Western Morning 


fetor iz&. 175 


PASSEN F. B. was asked to officiate at R. A., seven 
miles east of Southmolton, for the Rev. J. S., in the 
days when " all kinds of music " made up a village 
choir. The psalm was given out, and the musicians 
began to tune their instruments. Unfortunately, the 
fiddles and the bass-viol would not be obliging, and 
some time elapsed before they were in accord. Im- 
patient at the delay, the passen leant over the reading 
desk and throwing his arms wildly over his head, 
shouted at the very top of his voice, " Hark-away, 
Jack ! hark-away, Jack ! Tally-ho ! Tally-ho ! " 


A COUNTRY vicar, once went to fill the pulpit of a col- 
league who was temporarily absent from his parish. 
After the service he thought he would gauge the 
effect of his discourse by the opinion of that very fair 
index of public feeling, the clerk. " Well, Rogers," 
he said, " did you like my sermon ? " "I did, sir," 
was the reply. " I hope it was not too long ? " he 
anxiously enquired. " No yu wadden tii long awver 
'n," rejoined Rogers. " Well, then," said the vicar, 
" I hope I was not too short." " No," answered 
Rogers, " ner'et tii short nuther, yii was jist about 
right." The vicar felt relieved, and said, " I am glad 
of that because, to tell you the truth, while I was 
writing that sermon my dog got hold of four folios 

176 jl^ummto anti Crummit*. 

and destroyed them, and I was afraid it would be too 
short." Rogers scratched his head and for a moment 
was very thoughtful, and then said, confidentially, 
" Lor ! now, zir, did 'er ate um all up ? I warndee yii 
widden mind letting our passen 'ome yer, have a pup 
of your dug widdee now ? for he dii mappery a darned 
sight tii long tii plaise us, most times." 


THE following is interesting though perhaps a little 
startling. Just sixty years ago, string instruments did 
duty in the village choirs before the introduction of 
harmoniums and American organs. The leader of 
the particular choir, of which I write, was an old man 
of iron will. He kept the village inn, and in his 
sanded public parlour, the four or five fiddlers met 
once a week to practice the psalms and hymns for 
the next Sunday's service. He played the bass-viol, 
and was master of the choir. The group of fiddlers 
with their quaint everyday working costumes in that 
old room, lighted by two or three tallow dips in up- 
right iron-candlesticks, would have made a capital 
model for an old Dutch panel picture. On Sunday 
they occupied with the choirmen and children the 
gallery at the west end of the church, and from this 
position the master of the choir gave out the psalm 
or hymn which was to follow. The clerk had noth- 
ing at all to do with that part of the service. 


One Sunday morning the clerk was suddenly taken 
ill, and a substitute had to be hastily found. He 
came from C., some four miles off, and arrived only 
after the church was filled and the service had 
actually begun. He could, of course, know nothing 
of the psalms or hymns appointed for the day, but 
thinking it would be perfectly safe, he burst forth 
with " Let us sing to the praise and glory of God 
the old hundredth Psalm ; * All people that on earth 

do dwell ' " The old leader in the gallery was 

fairly taken aback at the strange intrusion and sub- 
stitution of another psalm for the one which he and 
his men had prepared. Stuttering with annoyance, he 

jumped up and shouted out, " D n" ahem " All 

people that on earth do dwell ! My soul shall magnify 
the Lord, 85th Psalm," and before the parson and 
congregation could recover from their astonishment, 
the bows of the fiddles swept across the strings, the 
voices followed, and all were on the right road. 


ON the south-east coast of Devon, about twelve 
miles from Exeter, lies the picturesque town of Daw- 
lish. It possesses a long stretch of sandy beach, 
which encloses a small bay of the English Channel. 
At the southern extremity may be seen two rocks, 
lying a short distance from the mainland, known as 

178 /pummttg anto Crummtt^ 

the Parson and Clerk. The story of these rocks, as 
told by the gossips of Dawlish is as follows : 

A certain bishop of Exeter fell sick, and thinking 
that the pure air of this charming village would 
restore his lost energy took up for a time his resi- 
dence there. 

An ambitious priest, whose aim was to succeed to 
the See in the event of his superior's demise, fre- 
quently rode to Dawlish accompanied by his clerk to 
make enquiries after the condition of the dying bishop. 
The clerk was usually the priest's guide; but one 
night, in a tremendous storm, while crossing Haldon 
they lost their way, and worn out with the long 
journey found themselves miles out of the beaten 
track, The priest boiled over with rage. He abused 
the clerk, and exclaimed " I would rather have the 
Devil himself, than you, for a guide." At this 
moment a horseman rode by and volunteered to 
pioneer them to Dawlish. They thanked him and 
jogged comfortably along at his side, unmindful of 
time, distance, or invalid. The storm still raged and 
the long ride had sharpened their appetites, therefore, 
as they approached a brilliantly-lighted mansion, they 
gladly accepted the stranger's invitation to partake 
of his hospitality. They enjoyed a sumptuous repast, 
and indulged freely in the good wine provided so 
lavishly by their host. 

In the midst of their merriment news was brought 
that the bishop was dead. The priest was eager to 


be off to secure the first chance of promotion, now 
that the bishop was out of the way. So master and 
man mounted their steeds and made ready to depart. 
But the horses were not anxious to go. They were 
whipped and spurred but all in vain. "Devil take 
the brutes," exclaimed the priest in his rage. 
" Thank you, sir," said their host, " Gee up." The 
horses did "gee up ! " with a vengeance, and galloped 
madly for the cliffs : then over they went, that of the 
clerk first, then followed the parson and his steed 
plump on their backs and there they are to this 
day looking see-ward (sea), monuments of disap- 
pointed ambition. 


THE workhouse at Taunton has been the scene of a 
romantic incident. On October I3th, 188 , a middle- 
aged man belonging to a neighbouring parish, arrived 
at the workhouse, his object being to find a house- 
keeper. Seeing the master, he said he had just lost 
his wife, and was in an awkward fix, as he had a 
situation and a cottage, but no one to cook his "grub." 
At the time of the conversation an inmate of the 
house, a widow, who had been allowed to store her 
furniture in an outhouse at the Union, was scrubbing 
the dining-hall floor, and to her the master put the 
question : " Would she like to interview the man 

i8o ^ummto auto Crummto. 

with the view of becoming his housekeeper ? " An 
affirmative answer was readily given, and the couple 
were left alone to settle the terms of the engagement. 
At the end of a half-an-hour, they requested the 
attendance of the master, who found them addressing 
each other familiarly as Willie and Annie. They 
asked him to draw up an agreement, setting forth 
that Willie would support Annie and her two children 
in return for her services as housekeeper. To please 
them the master complied, and Willie and Annie at 
once attached their signatures. Then in the presence 
of the woman, Willie, addressing the master, con- 
fessed to having a liking for Annie, and after much 
coy beating about the bush, he unbosomed himself, 
thus: "Well, ef 'er's aminded I'll go down an' gie 
notice to git married zo zoon's can be." With the 
hesitation of etiquette the engaged housekeeper, who, 
in a business-like fashion, had pocketed the agree- 
ment, said she would like to have until Monday to 
consider the proposal. After affectionately embracing 
the lovers parted. On Saturday, the object of this 
spontaneous passion, took to the master of the house 
a letter which she had received from Willie, and 
which was so affectionately worded that it might well 
be termed a love-letter. On Monday, Annie having 
consented, the couple and the two children drove off 
in a wagon, which Willie had brought for the pur- 
pose, the woman's furniture being taken away in the 
same conveyance. Before leaving, they thanked the 


master very warmly and intimated that they were 
going to be married without delay. 

From Tiverton Gazette. 


THAT the " tender passion" lingers in old age, and 
flourishes amid uncongenial surroundings, may be 
proved from the following letter of a veteran of 
eighty, sent to a Devonshire Board of Guardians. 

Mr. Mashell Governor, Master and Esq. 

Sir, and Gentlemen of the Committe. 
I, Abram Stiles have been your servant now 8 years, 
and desire to thank you all for your kindness to me, 
and now Gentlemen, I am going to say I have buried 
my Wife 14 year, and have been a poor W T anderer 
sence ; as I have not got a soul Living on earth that 
I can speak to, but Gentlemen sence I have been to 
the old Woman with my papper there is a female that 
noticed me as soon as 1 went, and she said, " I be- 
lieve that man is come to be my Husband." I never 
spoke for sometime until I looked at her and said, 
" Do you reelly thenk so ? " She said, " Yes, at Least, 
I Hope so." I said, " Well if you will Consent to be 
my Wife I will pleadge myself to make you a Happy 
Husband if the Gentlemen will allow us to be mar- 
ried." We shall be very happy I am sure as we 
are Both their servants, and quite satisfied we are 

1 82 ^ummto auto Crummitg. 

able and willing to do anything that Comes in our 
way, and we desire nothing in this world but to marry 
and live Happy together. The female is 63 years of 
age, and I am turned 80 years and Both well and 
hearty able and willing to do anything that Comes 
and now Gentlemen we pray you to grant this our 
only Hope of our Blessed Comfort ; we also desire to 
continue in our Sittuations, as we do not Desire any 
change. We are perfectly satisfied with our positions 
and desire to be thankfull. Gentlemen I will appear 
before you on Friday next. 
We remain, 

Your Humble Servants, 

Abrain Stiles, 80 years old. 

Amy Gloyns, 63 years old. 

Despite this very pathetic appeal the Guardians 
did not sanction the union of the happy pair. 

Tiverton Gazette, Nov. 1893. 


WAITING at a railway station, not far from Crediton, 
on the London and South Western Railway, I over- 
heard the following conversation between two country 
men. Being much amused I laughed heartily, when 
a strange woman sitting at my side on the form, re- 
marked to the friend sitting next to her. " Ot ivver 
aileth she ? poar blid I rakkon 'er's ago crackee ! " 


Here is the dialogue : 

Farmer Tom : Giide marnin' tii 'e maister Tapper, 
be yii agvvaine arresting than ? 

Farmer George : Ess I zim, I be agwaine tii dii zom- 
mat tu 't, tweel clear up a bit I 'opes bimbye and 
chell try tu car the wets tartarniine (this after- 

Tom : Shudden winder ef tweedden clear up : liike's 
off us 'ad 'ad 'nuf rayn latterly. 

George Well, ess, thort us wuz in vur 'nuther vlid. 
I jist rakkoned ol' Maister Noah wuz up tii zome 
ov es anticks again, an' wuz agwaine tii gie us 
'nuther vlid 'pon's awn count. Darned ef I 
weedden shelten ef cude come crass 'n. 


AN otter took refuge from the hounds under the 
stump of an overhanging tree on the banks of the 
Exe at Bickleigh, near Tiverton. The hounds, foiled 
in their desire to catch the animal, set up a most 

glorious baying, whereupon the Rev. J. B , a 

noted son of Nimrod, exclaimed, " Tell about music 
dii ee ? Tell about your oratorios ! Did ee ivver yer 
a sweeter Hallelujah than that m'bwoys ? No tanoby. 
All the arguns in the wordle wunt bayte that ! I'll 
be burned if they will ! What say you, sir ? " 

1 84 ^ummit# an& Crttmmit#, 


IN the centre of the extensive forest of Exmoor, lies 
the picturesque little village of Simonsbath, which is 
reputed to be ten miles from everywhere. Here in 
ancient times the limpid Barle, as now, flowed lazily 
in summer towards its sister stream the Exe, which 
it joins in the vicinity of Dulverton. Slowly wending 
its way through the country of the Red Deer, it 
forms many a deep pool, sheltered by clumps of 
alder, while its banks are rich in king fern and 
bracken. Simon, the king of the western country, 
often came to disport himself, with his followers, in 
the refreshing waters. One day, the sovereign ven- 
tured too far from his attendants and being seized 
with cramp sank, and was drowned before assistance 
arrived. Hence the name of the hamlet Simons- 


A few old Songs. 

A few old Songs. 


'Twuz down by the river I fust met my purty Jane, 
Upon a zummer's eveling when the zin wuz on the 

Her little veet they twinkled as her trip'd o'er mead- 

ers bright, 
And my heart 'e whisper'd zoftly, 

" Bill, did'st ivver zee such zight ? " 

Not nivver in my born days did I zee a maid zo fair, 
Her made my heart go pity-pat and her riz on end 

my hair. 
And I axed her vur to come back but her ciidden 

then, her zed, 
And on her sped like lightning, across the level mead. 

I yerd the birds a-zinging, as I corned up dru the 

And I thort they zed " Bill ! Bill ! thee shet have thy 

purty Jane," 
Ah ! 'twuz music sweeter var, than I ivver yerd 

It often gied me comfort digging peat pin tap the 


1 88 ummte anti Crummta. 

Wan Zummer Zinday morning when the bells wuz 

ringing sweet, 
I meet my love a-coming up old Chagford's pleasant 

I tiiked courage there and then, and I up and told 

my love, 
And her zed, " Dear Bill, I'll have thee," and her 

spoke jist like a dove. 

But her nivver lived to do it vur her pined away and 

Jist on the day, her zed her'd be my bonny little 

Now often when I'm walking down in yonder mead- 

ers bright, 
I zee her right avore me, like an angel in the light. 

And I yer her sweet voice zaying " Bill, Bill, be not 

af eared, 
Thee shet zee in heavenly places thy loving little 

Oh ! 'tez that which gives me peace as I walks in 

in field and lane, 
Vur if I live a true life, I shall zee my purty Jane. 

Elias Tozer, Exeter. 

LORD Lovel he stood at his own castle gate, 
Combing his milk-white steed, 
When up came Lady Nancy Bell 
To wish her lover good speed speed speed, 

To wish her lover good speed. 

frto oft &onfl#. 189 

" Where are you going, Lord Lovel ? " she said, 
" Oh, where are you going ? " said she, 
" I'm going my Lady Nancy Bell, 
Strange countries for to see see see, 
Strange countries for to see." 

" When will you come back, Lord Lovel ? " she 


" When will you come back to me ? " 
" In a year or two, or three at most, 
I'll return to my Lady Nancy cy cy, 

I'll return to my Lady Nancy ? " 

But he hadden been gone but a year and a day 
Strange countries for to see, 
When languishing thoughts came into his head 
Lady Nancy Bell to see see see, 
Lady Nancy Bell to see. 

So he rode, and he rode on his milk-white steed, 
Till he came to Kenton town, 
When he heard St. Andrew's Church bells ring, 
And the people all mourning around round 

And the people all mourning around. 

" Oh, what is the matter ? " Lord Lovel, he said, 
" Oh, what is the matter ? " said he, 
" A Lord's Lady is dead," an old woman said, 
" And some call her the Lady Nancy cy cy, 
And some call her the Lady Nancy." 

190 j^ummto anti Crummte, 

So he ordered the grave to be opened wide, 
And the shroud to be turned down, 
And then he kissed her clay-cold lips, 
Till the tears came trickling down down down, 
Till the tears came trickling down. 

Lady Nancy died as it might be to-day, 
Lord Lovel he died as to-morrow, 
Lady Nancy, she died out of pure, pure grief, 
Lord Lovel, he died out of sorrow sorrow 

Lord Lovel he died out of sorrow. 

Lady Nancy was laid in the cold churchyard, 
Lord Lovel was laid in the choir ; 
And out of her bosom there grew a red rose, 
And out of his a sweet brier rier rier, 
And out of his a sweet brier. 

They grew and they grew to the church steeple 


And then they could grow no higher, 
So there they entwined in a true-lovers-knot, 
For all true lovers to admire mire mire, 
For all true lovers to admire. 

Sung by Mr. Ted Ward, at a harvest supper, 
September, 1893. 

THE following appeared in an Exeter newspaper, in 
May, 1844, and was attributed to the pen of Mr. 
Henry Baird, a popular writer of poems in the 

feto oft &ong#. 191 

Devonshire Dialect, generally known as Nathan Hogg. 
John and Moll Chawbacon's visit to Exeter, on the 
occasion of the opening of the Great Western Rail- 
way, May ist, 1844. 

LOR Johnny ! lor Johnny ! now whatever is that ? 
A-rinning along like a 'oss upon wheels, 
Tez so bright as your buttons, and so black's your 


And jist listen, Johnny, and hear how he squeals ! 
Dash my old buttons, Moll ! I'll be darned if I know, 
Us was fools to come yer, and run into dhanger. 
Let's be off, he spits fire, lor ! do let us go. 
And he holds up his head like a giize to a stranger, 
I be a bit frightened, but let us bide yer, 
And hark how he puffs, he coughs, and he blows, 
He idden unlike the old cart-oss last year, 
Brokenwinded and yet only zee how he goes ' 
He rinn'th upon ladders, with they things like wheels, 
Or hurdles, or palings put down on the ground. 
But why do they let him stray out of the fields ? 
'Tez a wonder they don't clap en into the pound, 
He can't be alive, John ! I don't think he can ; 
I bant sure of that Moll, for just look now, 
He breathes like a 'oss, or a snivelled old man, 
And hark how he's bust out a-coughing. Good now ! 
He never could draw all they waggons d'ye see 
If he lived upon vatches, or turmets or hay ; 
Why they waggons be filled up wi' people they be ; 
And do 'e but look how they'm laughing away, 

1 92 jl2ummtt# auto Crummit#. 

And look to they chillern a rinning about 

With their mouths full of gingerbread there by the 


And see to the scores of fine ladies turned out 
And gentlemen all in their best Sunday clothes, 
And look to the house made of canvas so smart, 
And the dinner sot out wi' such bustle and fuss. 
But us brought a squab-pie wi' us in the cart, 
And a firkin of cider, so that's nort to us. 
I tellee what tez, Moll this yer is my mind, 
The wordle's gone mazed so sure as you'm born, 
Tez so true as Tm living and that they'll find, 
With their hosses 'pon wheels, that don't live upon corn. 
I widden go homewards by and by to the farm, 
Behind such a creature, when all's said and done 
We've travelled scores of miles, but we never got 

For there's nort like a market cart under the sun. 


YOUNG Roger of the valley, 

One morning very soon, 

Put on his best apparel, 

His hose and Sunday shoon ; 

And he a-wooing went, 

To bonnie buxom Nell, 

Says he, " My dear, can you fancy I ? 

For I likes thee wondrous well, 

For I likes thee wondrous well." 


" Young man, you are quite mistaken," 

The damsel quick replied, 

" I'm not in such a hurry, 

To be a ploughman's bride, 

For I do live in hopes 

To marry a farmer's son." 

" If this be so," said Roger, then, 

" Sweet mistress I have done." 

" Go take your farmer's son, 

With all my honest heart, 

Although my name be Roger, 

Who ploughs, and drives a cart, 

I need not tarry long, 

I soon can get a wife, 

There's buxom Joan 'tis very well known, 

She loves me like her life." 

" And what of buxom Joan, 

Can't I please thee just as well ? 

What ! though your name be Roger 

And mine be bonnie Nell ? 

For I have fifty shillings." 

The money it made him smile ; 

He drew his chair and said, " My dear, 

I'll chat with you awhile." 

" If you have fifty shillings, 
Why need we longer stay ; 
But only say you're willing, 
And let's appoint the day. 


i94 jummit# auto Crummittf, 

For I have fifty more 

The money a cow will buy, 

We'll join our hands in wedlock's bands, 

And who like Nell and I ? " 

From the Western Morning News. 

Twuz zixty years and more, when fust I meet my 

Among her father's apples that shined jist like her 


Us courted fifteen year, aw ! twuz a happy time, 
And then us was a-wedded, us both was in our 


Us wuz married in a church upon a Zummer's day, 
When all the birds wuz zinging and ivvery thing wuz 


There wuz father there, and mawther, and likewise 

uncle Ben, 
Aunt Jane and cousin Phylie and Bob and Betty 


A cruel lot ov youngsters, from all the country round, 
Broft down all zorts of things our happy hearts to 

And when the ring wuz on, and the clerk had zed 

" Amen," 
Who diiee think fust jumped vore ? Why, rough old 

uncle Ben. 


And he keesed Grace rayther zmaert, I didden much 

mind he, 
But twadden quite zo proper in Young Varmer Wil- 

yum Lee ! 
I keep'd me veelings down, which wuz rising purty 

I zed, " dear Grace, I 'opes he'll be the last." 

Her squeeged my arm and meaned tweed be, 

I also diied the zame, 

And then us went to dinner ; and arterwards 

* * * * * 

Us lived like turtle doves all dru many happy years. 
And reared up thirteen chillern : ov cuse they broft 

their kears ; 

But then they've turned out well and all be giide to me. 
As their mawther on her death-bed, charged um vur 

to be. 

Vor when the birds wuz zinging, as 'pon our wedding 


Jist like a little babby, her calmly passed way, 
And zometimes when I comes yer there breathes 

about the place, 

Such blessed memories ov her, I zim I zees her vace, 
And clasps her hand, and yers her voice, a zaying 

unto me, 
" Cheer up, dear Jeames, be not cast down, 

Thee ziine shall come to me." 

Elias Tozer, Exeter. 

196 jpummit# ana Crummitg, 


DADDY Fox walked out one moonshine night, 
He prayed to the moon to give him some light 
For he had a long way to travel that night, 
Before he got home to his den O, den O, 

Den O, den O. 

For he had a long way to travel that night, 
Before he got home to his den O. 

As he passed by a farmer's yard, 
The ducks and the geese they were all aveared, 
" The best of your fat shall grease my beard, 
Avore I get home to my den O, den O, 

Den O, den O, 
Avore I get home to my den O." 

He seized the old grey goose by the neck, 
And slung her all across his back, 
The goose cried out with a tribly, tribly twack, 
And the blood came trickly down O, down O. 

Down O, down O, 
And the blood came trickly down O. 

Old Mrs. Flipper Flopper jumped out of bed, 

And out of the window she popped her head, 

Saying, " Jan, Jan, Jan. 

The grey goose is gone, 

And the fox hath gone home to his den O, den O, 

Den O, den O, 
The fox hath gone home to his den O." 

Si frto olti fe>ong#. 197 

Jan rinned away to a very high hill, 

Blew up his horn both loud and shrill, 

" Blow on," said the fox, " 'tis pretty music still, 

But I am away to my den O, den O. 

Den O, den O, 
But I'm safe away to my den O." 

Then he dropped the goose to ease his pain, 
Hadn't put her down long when he took her up 


For he heard the sound of the hounds O, hounds O, 
He heard the sounds of the hounds O. 

When he arrived unto his den, 

Where he had little ones nine or ten, 

The fox and his wife they were in great strife, 

They tore up the grey goose without fork or knife, 

And the little ones nuzzled the bones O, bones O. 

Bones O, bones O, 
The little ones nuzzled the bones O. 

Sung at Tiverton, at a harvest supper, by John 
Vinnicombe, 1856. 


THERE was an old man in the West Country ; 
A blatch in his lease the attorney found, 
Twas all for the felling of five ashen trees, 
And building a house upon his own ground. 

198 Summits? anti Crummto. 

The old man, he would to London go, 
To shew the King great part of his woe, 
To shew the King great part of his grief, 
And likewise to ax'n for some relief. 

Now when the old man to London came, 
The King he was to Windsor gone, 
" Why if he had known that I was acoming, 
He widden have gone so far from home." 

When the old man unto Windsor came, 
The gates were locked, and all secure, 
" Why let's knock away with my oaken club, 
There's room for me to get vore, to be sure." 

" Yer sarvint, Maister Nobles! " shew me the king, 

" Whot's this the King you sheweth to me ? 

I zeed a chap to Barnstaple fair 

Looked more like a king than thicky chap there." 

" Yer sarvint, Mr. King ! " the old man said, 
" A blatch in my lease the * torney ' hath found, 
And it's all for felling of five ashen trees, 
And building a 'ouze pin tap his own ground." 

The King he took the lease all up, 

And signed it with his hand so free. 

" Why, if us ciide a-had it a-diied at home, 

Us needn't a-comed to thee." 

& ftto oft feonff*. 199 

The old man took the lease all up, 

And for to go home was also willing, 

But to make the King some sort of amends, 

He took out his purse and gave him a shilling, 

The King he thanked the noble soul, 
And paid him down ten pounds in gold, 
And every year for the sake of the sport, 
Ten pounds were paid from Windsor Court. 

The old man took the lease all up, 
And for to go home he now was quite willing, 
" But if I'd a-knowed thee'd agot so much money, 
The devil-a-bit wid I a-gied thee a shilling." 

For this and the following song I am indebted to 
the kindness of Mr. W. H. Whiteaway, of Sunny- 
side, Exmouth, who is good enough to allow me to 
insert them here. He says, " these songs I give to 
you, from memory, as I can remember hearing them 
sung over sixty years ago." 


" WHERE are you gwaine fair maid, I pray ? " 

And old man asked a maid, one day. 

" Looking for poppies so bright and red, 

Father," she said, " I'm hither led." 

" Fie ! fie ! " did the old man cry, 

" Poppies all know 

In the field, and not in the grove, do grow." 

200 $lummtt# auto 

" Tell me," again the old man said, 
" Why are you wandering here, fair maid ? " 
" The nightingales' song so sweet and clear, 
Father," said she, " I came to hear." 

" Fie ! fie ! " was the old man's cry, 
1 - Nightingales all people do say 
Warble by night, and not in the day." 

The sage looked grave, and the maid looked shy, 

When Lubin jumped over a stile hard by, 

The sage looked graver, and the maid more glum, 

Lubin, he twiddled his finger and thumb, 

" Fie ! fie ! " did the old man cry, 

" Poppies like these, I own are rare, 

And of such nightingale's songs beware ! " 

THERE was an old man who lived in a wood, 

As yu may plainly zee, 
He zed he cude du more work in a day, 

Than he's wive cude du in dree. 

" If that be the case," the old 'ummon zed, 

" If that be the case," zed she, 
Then yu shall bide at home tu-day, 

And I'll go and drave the plough. 

But mind yii milk the cherry cow, 

For fear that her shiide dry, 
And mind yii tend the sucking pigs, 

That lie in yonder sty. 

& fcto oft feonge?. 201 

And mind yii watch the speckitty hen, 

For fear that her shiide stray, 
.And mind yii wind the wisterd yarn 

That I spinned yesterday." 

The old 'ummon her tiiked the whip in her hand, 

And went to drave the plough, 
The old man, he tiiked the milking pail, 

And went to milk the cow. 

But Cherry, her kicked, and Cherry her flinged, 

And Cherry her widden be quiet, 
Her gied the old man a kick in the leg, 

Which made he kick up a riot. 

He went to watch the speckitty hen, 

For fear that her shiide stray, 
But he forgot to wind the yarn, 

His wife spinned yesterday. 

Then he swared by the zin, the miine and the stars, 

And all that wuz in Heaven, 
That his wife ciide do more work in a day, 

Than he ciide do in zebben. 


THERE are several versions of this song extant. A 
very charming one was a favourite with the late Dr. 
Stoneman, of Ilfracombe. Many persons remember 
how he would " bring the house down " with applause 
when he sang it in the Concert Room, but although 
I have advertised and tried to obtain a copy from 

202 j|2ummit# anli Crummte. 

private sources, I have unfortunately failed to get 
one. I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. Law- 
rence, editor of the North Devon Herald, Barnstaple, 
for the following very amusing example : 

OH, Devonshire's a noble county, full of lovely views, 

And full of gallant gentlemen for you to pick and 
choose, Miss ! 

But search the towns all round about there's nothing 
can compare, Miss ! 

In measurement of merriment with Barnstaple Fair, 

Then sing of Barum's merry town, and Barum's 
merry Mayor, too, 

I know no place in all the world, old Barum to com- 
pare to ! 

There's nothing happens in the year but happens at 
our fair, Sir ! 

'Tis then that everything abounds that's either new 
or rare, Sir ! 

The Misses make their start in life its gaieties to 
share, Sir ! 

And ladies look for beaux and balls to Barnstaple fair, 

Then sing of Barum's merry town, and Barum's wor- 
thy Mayor, too, 

I know no place in all the world old Barum to com- 
pare to ! 

oft &onfi#. 203 

The little boys and girls at school their nicest clothes 
prepare, Ma'am ! 

To walk the streets and buy sweetmeats and ginger- 
bread so rare, Ma'am ! 

Their prime delights, to see the sights that ornament 
our Square, Ma'am ! 

When Powell brings his spangled troop to Barnstaple 
Fair, Ma'am ! 

Then sing of Barum's merry town, and our indulgent 
Mayor, too, 

I know no place in all the world old Barum to com- 
pare to ! 

If milk be scarce though grass be plenty, don't com- 
plain too soon, Dame ! 

For that will very often happen in the month of June, 
Dame ! 

Though cows run dry while grass runs high, you 
never need despair, Dame ! 

The cows will calve and milk you'll have to Barn- 
staple Fair, Dame ! 

Then sing of Barum's wealthy town and its produc- 
tive fair, too, 

And drink the Corporation, and the head of it the 
Mayor, too ! 

If pigeons' wings are plucked, and peacocks' tails re- 
fuse to grow, friend ! 

In Spring ; you may depend upon't in Autumn they 
will shew, friend ! 

204 ^-lummto anti Crummte. 

If feathers hang about your fowls in drooping style 

and spare, friend ! 
Both cocks and hens will get their pens to Barnstaple 

Fair, friend ! 
Then, friend, leave off your wig, and Barum's privi- 

leges share, too, 
Where everything grows once a year, wings, feathers, 

tails, and hair, too ! 

If Winter wear and Summer dust call out for paint 

and putty, Sir ! 
And Newport coals in open grates make paper-hang- 

ings smutty, Sir ! 
And rusty shops and houses' fronts most sadly want 

repair, Sir ! 
Both shops and houses will be smart to Barnstaple, 

Fair, Sir ! 
And Barum is a handsome town, and everyday im- 

proving, Sir ! 
Then drink to all who study its improvement to keep 

moving, Sir ! 

King George the Third rode out to Staines the hounds 

to lay the stag on, 
But that great things of sport, for mighty 

kings to brag on, 
The French, alas ! go a la chasse in von po shay and 

But what's all that to Button Hill ? To Barnstaple 


& feto olti 5>on0#. 205 

For we will all a-hunting go, on horse, or mule, or 

mare, Sir ! 
For everything is in the field to Barnstaple Fair, 


To Button Hill, whose name to all the sporting world 
sure known is, 

Go bits of blood, and hunters, hacks, and little Ex- 
moor ponies ; 

When lords and ladies, doctors, passons, farmers, 
squires prepare, 

To hunt the stag with hound and horn to Barnstaple 

Then up and ride for Chillam Bridge, or on to Brat- 
ton town, Sir, 

To view the rouse, or watch the Yeo, to see the stag 
come down, Sir ! 

There's nothing else in jollity and hospitable fare, 

That ever can with Barnstaple in fair time compare, 

And guests are very welcome hospitality to share, 

For beer is brew'd, and beef is bought to Barnstaple 

Fair, Sir ! 
Then sing of merry England, and roast beef, old 

English fare, Sir ! 
A bumper to the town and trade of Barum and its 

Mayor, Sir ! 

2o6 ummite anti Crummte. 

Boiled beef, roast beef, squab pie, pear pie, and figgy 

pudden, plenty, 
When eight or nine sit down to dine, they'll find 

enough for twenty, 
And after dinner for dessert, the choicest fruits you'll 

share, Sir ! 
E'en walnuts come from Somerset to Barnstaple Fair, 

Then sing of Barum's jolly town, and Barum's jolly 

Mayor, too, 
No town in England can be found old Barum to com- 

pare to ! 

I will not sing of Bullock fair, and brutes whose 

horrid trade is 
To shut our window blinds, and block up all the 

Nor of the North walk, rush and crush, where fools 

at horses stare, Sir ! 
When Mister Murray brings his nags to Barnstaple 

Fair, Sir ! 
But sing of Barum's jolly town and Barum's jolly 

Mayor, too ! 
No town in England can be found, old Barum to 

compare to ! 

The " Ball " one night, the " Play " the next, with 

private parties numerous, 
Prove Barnstaple people's endless efforts, Sir, to 

humour us, 

ftto oft fe>ong#. 207 

And endless, too, would be my song, if I should now 

All the gaieties, and rarities of BARNSTAPLE 

Then loudly sing " God save the King," and long 

may Barum thrive O ! 
May we all live to see the " Fair," and then be all 

alive O ! 

IN Totnes town where I was born, 
There was a fair maid dwelling, 
Made every youth cry " Well-a-way," 
Her name was Barbara Allen. 

All in the merry month of May, 
When green buds they were swelling, 
Young Johnny Gale on his death-bed lay, 
For love of Barbara Allen. 

He sent his groom unto her then, 
To the town where she was dwelling, 
" You must come to my master dear, 
If your name be Barbara Allen. 

For death is printed on his face, 
And o'er his heart is stealing : 
Then haste away to comfort him, 
Oh ! lovely Barbara Allen ! " 

Though death be printed on his face, 
And o'er his heart is stealing, 
Yet little better shall he be, 
For bonny Barbara Allen. 

208 ummitg anti Crummte. 

So slowly, slowly she came up, 
And slowly she came nigh him, 
And all she said, when up she came, 
"Young man, I think you're dying." 

He turned his face unto her straight, 
With deadly sorrow sighing, 
" Oh ! lovely maid, come pity me, 
I'm on my death-bed lying." 

" If on your death-bed you do lie, 
What needs the fate you're telling : 
I cannot keep you from your death. 
Farewell ! " said Barbara Allen. 

He turned his face unto the wall, 
And deadly pangs he fell in, 
" Adieu, adieu, adieu to all ! 
Adieu to Barbara Allen ! " 

As she was walking o'er the fields, 
She heard the bell a-knelling, 
And every stroke did seem to say, 
" Unworthy Barbara Allen." 

She turned her body round about, 

And 'spied the corpse a-coming, 

" Lay down, lay down, the corpse," she said, 

" That I may look upon him." 

With scornful eye, she looked down, 
Her cheeks with laughter swelling, 
Whilst all his friends cried out " For shame, 
Unworthy Barbara Allen ! " 

feto oto fe>ong#. 209 

When he was dead and in his grave, 
Her heart was struck with sorrow, 
" Oh, mother ! mother ! make my bed, 
For I shall die to-morrow. 

" Hard-hearted creature him to slight, 
Who loved me so dearly ; 
Oh ! that I'd been more kind to him, 
When he was alive and near me." 

She, on her death-bed as she lay, 
Begged to be buried by him, 
And sore repented of the day, 
That she did e'er deny him. 

" Farewell," she said, " ye virgins all, 
And shun the fault I fell in, 
Henceforth take warning by the fall, 
Of cruel Barbara Allen." 

Sung by John Snow, of Tiverton, at a supper 
party, A.D. 1869. 


WE'M out of the 'arbour, good-bye to the mud, 
Heave ho ! shake out the sail, 
The 'arbour's avull and the tide's aflood 
Aw, whistle my lads for a favouring gale. 

There's Polly and Mary azide o' their ma, 
Heave ho ! shake out the sail, 
And Bess in her arms like a little white lamb, 
Aw, whistle my lads for a favouring gale. 



There's two little forms at the end o' the pier, 
Heave ho ! shake out the sail, 
And a liike in all eyes is the way as we steer, 
Aw, whistle my lads for a favouring gale. 

Oh, Jim has a bit of a ball in his throat, 
Heave ho ! shake out the sail, 
He is wiping his nauze wi' the sleeve of his coat, 
Aw, whistle my lad for a favouring gale. 

Oh, Jess is his lass, her's a piping her eye, 
Heave ho ! shake out the sail, 
And Jim he can't dii it, no not if he tried, 
Aw, whistle my lads for a favouring gale. 

Heard at Plymouth, 1892. 

The following, which appeared in a recent number 
of the Western Morning News, is from the pen of the 
late Dr. Puddicombe, of Moreton. The subject, Jan 
Pook, was post boy at the Saracen's Head, Two 
Bridges, Dartmoor. The poem gives a clear idea of 
the habits of the convivial souls who inhabit and 
divert themselves in that neighbourhood. 


JAN Pook wuz a post-boy, 
The vokes where he stapped 
Zed a hardier 'osebird, 
There nivver wuz drapped. 

oft )ong;& 211 

He ciide laugh, he cude zing, 

He cude smoke, he cude tell, 

And whativver he diied, 

He alwes diied well. 

He wuz loved by his guv'ner, 

Samuel Cann, 

Of " The White Hart," in Moreton, 

A merciful man, 

Who trated his 'osses, 

And customers, too, 

And trated Jan Pook, 

When he'd nort else to do. 

Jan Pook druv a party 

To Princetown one day, 

Returning wherefrom, 

On his empty post shay, 

To the " Saracen's Head," 

He pulled up for a wet, 

Refreshment 'es zel 

And his osses to get. 

Jan drinked wey some miners 

Until, as he zed, 

The liquor he drinked 

Had got into his head. 

When he started again, 

To his home to return, 

What arterwards happened, 

You'll presently learn. 

212 ^ttmmttg an& Crummta. 

Es likker 'ad warmed en to that there degree, 
That he vailed vast asleep, and his osses you zee, 
Forgetting the whip, stapped and grazed 'pon the 


But how long they bided there nobody knowed. 
Jan dreamed 'bout some pixies 
And other strange folk, 
When the miners corned up, 
All alive for a joke. 
They unharnessed his osses, 
And drove mun away, 
Leaving Jan vast asleep 
On the porch of the shay. 

When the zun in the East wuz beginning to rise, 
Jan Pook, half awake, 
Vailed to rubbing his eyes. 
" Who be I ? Where be I ? " 
Zed Jan in a maze : 
" Here's a drunken old zun- 
Of-a-gun on a shays. 
If I be Jan Pook, 
I may zay to my cost 
A pair of post osses 
I've sartinly lost. 
If I baint Jan Pook 
'Tez a fortinite day, 
For I'm burned if I aint 
Been and found a post shay." 

feto olti >0ng#. 213 


Don't drink wey no miners, 
Now mind what I zay, 
Don't nivver pull up 
To no Saracen's Head, 
Spurn alcoholic drinks 
Vur the rest of your days, 
And you'll not lost no osses, 
Nor vind a post shays. 

IT is only a dear little letter, 
In my hand that I tenderly hold, 
From one who is dearer far better 
Than treasures of silver and gold. 
Many days my heart has been sighing, 
This mark of affection to see, 
And now there's no use in denying, 
I'm as happy, as happy can be. 


It is only a dear little letter, 
Its coming I've waited to see, 
A dear little, sweet little letter, 
A dear little letter for me. 

It is only a dear little letter, 
But its pages are filled with kind words 
Tells of one who is dearer yea, better 
Than the music and warblings of birds. 

214 Jpummitg anli Crummittf. 

Oh, they waken glad mem'ries to cheer me, 

As I sail o'er the wide, open sea, 

And the sweet thoughts of one bringeth 

I am as happy, as happy can be. 


It is only a dear little letter, 
And it breathes of a heart that is true, 
Its makes my lone heart feel the better, 
As this world I am journeying through. 
It tells of a heart's sweet devotion 
That will cling now and ever to me, 
My mind it is in a commotion, 
I'm as happy, as happy can be. 


SOUL Day ! Soul ! 
The Roads are very dirty. 

Our shoes are very thin, 
Pray good missis and master, 

Pop a penny in. 

An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry, 
Or any good thing to make us merry, 
If you haven't an apple, a pear will do, 
If you haven't a pear, good money will do, 

One for Peter, two for Paul, 
Three for Them as made us all. 


Soul Day ! Soul ! 
The cock sat up in a yew tree, 

The hen came cackling by, 
We wish you a merry Christmas, 
And a fat pig in the sty. 

Soul Day ! Soul ! 

THE knight he killed the squire, 

The squire being dead, 

And witnesses being by, 

'Twas brought in Wilful Murder, 

The knight was condemned to die. 

He was condemned to die 

According to the Law, 

Though all had expectation, 
That the judge a free pardon would show. 

She was but a poor servant, 
A poor servant maid, 
" If I shall be admitted, 
Admitted sir," she said, 
"I'll come before the judge, 
And there I'll end all strife. 
For like a love-sick lady, 
I'll go and beg his life." 

216 jpummte an* Crummit*. 

She borrowed rich attire, 

Rich rings she had manifold, 

Likewise she had around her neck 

A costly chain of gold. 

Now all things being ready, 

She with her footpage came, 

Just like some noble lady 

Of honour, birth and fame. 

When she came before the judge, 

She on her knees did fall 

For mercy, and for mercy, 

For mercy she did call. 

" Take mercy on a virgin, 

And grant to me my love, 

May the Heavens light you from above." 

" Fair lady and fair lady, 
Fair lady he must die " 

And the lady wrunged her hands, 
And bitterly did cry 
" For the law must be fulfilled, 
And blood for blood must pay." 
" My life shall be his ransom, 
To set my true love free." 

* * # # * # 

"How can you die to save him ? 
Such love I never knew, 
Pity but what you could have him, 
So bid your tears adieu : 

feto oto >ong. 217 

This moment I will quit him, 
All for the lady's sake." 

She said " I am no lady, 
These clothes are none o'mine, 
These riches, rings and jewels 
I quickly must resign, 
They are my master's daughter's, 
I borrowed them also. 
To prevent thy awful ruin 
And fatal overthrow." 
" And to thy master's daughter, 
Two hundred pound I'll give, 
My best respects I'll pay to her, 
The longest day I live. 

To make you satisfaction, 

I will make you my bride, 

I have more cause to love you, 

Than all the world beside. 

I have more cause to love you, 

Than anyone beside. 

Thou hast saved my life, 

And hast prolonged my days, 

Through all the lands and nations, 

To you I will sing praise." 

Recited on January ist, 1898, by Fanny Litson, at 
a tea party, given by R. H. Taylor, Esq., Lynton, 
North Devon, to aged persons. 


218 j|2ummit# auto Crummit^ 


'TWAS in King Henry's time, 

And he was a good old king, 

There were three rogues turned out of doors, 

Because they would not sing. 

The first he was a miller, 
And the second he was a weaver, 
And the third he was a little tailor, 
Three thieving rogues together. 

The miller, he stole corn, 

The weaver, he stole yarn, 

The little tailor he stole broadcloth, 

To keep these three rogues warm. 

The miller was drowned in his dam, 
And the weaver was hanged in his yarn, 
But the Devil flew away with the little tailor, 
With the broadcloth under his arm. 


THERE'S no star in the candle to-night, 
Nor one little ray shewing clear, 
Still to make our heavy hearts light, 
By shewing a letter is near. 

But although there's no star there to-night, 
There is one eye that ever looks down, 
Whose might can change darkness to night, 
Who ne'er on afflictions will frown. 

Si feto oin !5>0n0#. 219 


WHEN the snow was falling, falling, 

On a bitter winter night, 
I, and little Mary watched it, 

Wrapping all the world in white, 
Came a little Robin Redbreast, 

Hungry, shivering, and in pain, 
And we heard him gently tapping, 

Tapping on the window pane. 

Little Mary oped the window, 

Bitter blew the wind and strong, 
Warmed and fed the little stranger, 

And he paid her with a song. 
Robin learned to love my Mary, 

Mary loved him back again, 
Ev'ry day we heard him gently, 

Tapping at the window pane. 

Mary died and left me lonely, 

And we laid her in the clay, 
And the snow that falls upon her, 

Mourning, weeps itself away. 
Robin went and lay beside her, 

Sang his last expiring strain. 
When at night I dream of Mary, 

Comes an echo on the pane : 

Robin's gone to sing with Mary, 
In my dreams I hear the strain, 

And I wake and hear the echo. 
Tapping on the window pane. 

Iprintet) bv> .USarnicott ant) ipearcc 

at tbe Btbenaeum jpreas 




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